President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that Nigeria will assist the Republic of Benin in conducting free and fair general elections in 2016.
The President gave this assurance in Abuja on Tuesday at a joint news conference with the Beninoise president, Boni Yayi, after they held a private meeting at the Presidential Villa. He heaped praises on Yayi, whose second five-year tenure as President of Benin Republic will end in February 2016 saying
He (President Boni Yayi) is going to round up his two terms of five years.
He will be 10-year old in February as a President. I congratulate him
Certainly, Nigeria, using its experience of holding elections, will make sure that the election in our neighboring country has gone on smoothly and as humanly possible.’’
President Buhari also added that both Nigeria and Benin Republic have agreed to map out new strategies to check oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea.
The President assured he will speed up action on what the Benin Republic requested which is to connect its power turbine with the West African Gas Pipeline.
On the approaching 40th anniversary of ECOWAS, Buhari promised that Nigeria will host the event in the next nine days.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the private meeting between the two leaders focused on economic integration, regional cooperation, and security within the West African sub-region.
Speaking about terrorism, the two presidents concurred to make the present efforts to root out the menace of Boko Haram insurgency under the auspices of the Multi-National Joint Task Force more intense. In the course of the said state meeting, President of the Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi, pledged to send 800 soldiers to Nigeria who will add a leg up to the Nigerian military in their battle to sweep off Boko Haram members in the country.
He further hinted that the soldiers are awaiting deployment as they are well prepared to march to the battle field.
He added that their will power is there and Benin is vowing to deploy the men to Nigeria. He also re-established the verbal relationship between Benin and Nigeria, assuring that Benin will always remain on the side of Nigeria even in its difficult times. He went on to reveal that his country is also facing huge challenges and that president Buhari has his first hand support in the fight against corruption.
While congratulating the Nigeria president for his effort so far, the president of Benin Yayi said:
President Buhari took over the mantle of government at a time terrorism, occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram, is high.
To fight terrorism, Benin is ready to send about 800 men to join the men that are already prepared to fight terrorism. The team is battle-ready for deployment.
The will-power is there and Benin is committed to deploying the men. Benin will always remain on the side of Nigeria in its trying times.
The sub-region is also going through serious problems of development. Fighting Boko Haram is becoming difficult because OPEC countries are going through oil crisis.
We will always stand beside Buhari in his fight against corruption.’’
Yayi also invited President Buhari to attend the burial of former President of the republic, Mathew Kerekou.