The Federal Government on Saturday dismissed reports on Benin Republic’s quest to become Nigeria’s 37th state.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, reportedly told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja on Saturday that the Benin Republic President, Patrice Talon, had expressed his country’s readiness to be part of Nigeria.
The media briefing took place after a meeting between Onyeama and his Benin Republic counterpart, Aurélien Agbenonci.
He said the Beninoise President made the offer when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari a few weeks back.
However, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, who reacted to the claim in a statement in Abuja, described the report as misleading.
He insisted that the minister was quoted out of context by the media.
The spokesman urged Nigerians to disregard the wrong information.
Nwonye said: “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 Federal Republic of Nigeria has no territorial ambition and has never aspired to make Benin or any country as part of Nigeria.”