Benin Republic has expressed readiness to become the 37th State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This was confirmed by Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs after a close door meeting with the leaders of the country.
Recall that Patrice Talon of Benin Republic had visited President Muhammadu Buhari after President Buhari lifted the ban on the closure of Nigeria's border. Talon reportedly came to thank Buhari and also discuss security, bilateral and other security issues between the two nations.
Buhari and Talon at Aso Rock
However, Onyeama said that Talon had as a matter of fact wanted his country to be part and parcel of the country. It is not just mere words but a serious statement on the part of his country.
Talon thus charged Onyeama and others at the ministerial level to come together in order to work out a framework for lasting relationship between the two countries.
If it works out and Benin Republic finally joins Nigeria, it would a dominant French speaking region in the country.
Benin Republic with a territory covering 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) will become the largest state in the country and one the most populated too with over 12 million people. Benin Republic is also contiguous to Nigeria, just some lines of boundary from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger and Kebbi states demarcated Benin Republic from Nigeria.
I think it will work out well because a greater part of Benin Republic have Yoruba and Fulani ancestry. Many of them are fluent in Yoruba, Hausa/Fulfude and can easily blend in with the greater Nigerian population.
Also there are many flourishing Igbo communities in Benin Republic doing businesses and living peacefully in the country. It will indeed be a welcome de development for Benin Republic to join Nigeria.
However, the problem is whether Nigeria is ready to carry this extra burden. Off course, Nigeria has been a big brother to Benin Republic and without Nigeria, Benin Republic will suffer. But the question is whether Nigeria is sufficient to add Benin Republic to its entity especially in this era where the country is encumbered with security and ethnic crisis. Only time will tell.
Ethnic compositions of Benin Republic
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