The Federal Government has debunked reports that the Republic of Benin is aspiring to become Nigeria’s 37th state.
A report that went viral yesterday claimed the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the President of Benin Republic had expressed readiness to cede the sovereignty of the country to Nigeria and become the 37th state.
However, in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinard Nwoye, the Minister said his statement was taken out of context.
The statement read, “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports in the media that the Republic of Benin is aspiring to be the 37th State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the presence of his counterpart from the Republic of Benin granted a press interview after a very fruitful meeting between ministerial delegations from both countries and stated therein …’ the President of Benin Republic said he would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th State of Nigeria.”
The statement added, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria has no territorial ambition and has never aspired to make Benin or any country part of Nigeria. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was therefore quoted out of context and the general public should kindly disregard the wrong information.”