On a 48-hour visit to Cotonou, Niger’s president, Mohamed Bazoum announced the upcoming deployment of Nigerien military to secure its border with Benin.
President Bazoum, who arrived in Cotonou on Monday, held a joint press conference with his Beninese counterpart, Patrice Talon after a working session at the Presidency in Cotonou. “For Niger, the Benin
corridor is a vital corridor and we are going to install military forces at the border whose purpose will be to ensure that this space is even more secure,” said Mohamed Bazoum. As Niger is a landlocked country, much of its goods transit through the port of Cotonou before being transported by road.
Since July 2022, Benin and Niger have concluded a military cooperation agreement to conduct a joint fight against terrorism. Talon and Bazoum warmly welcomed this partnership, which allows them to fight effectively against jihadist groups. “I can tell you that we are satisfied with what we are doing, especially in terms of intelligence.
It is easy to see that in the W wildlife park on our common border, our actions are bearing fruit and that attacks and threats have become rather rare,” the Beninese President said.
Prioritizing bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism Referring to the limits of the Accra Initiative, the two Heads of State made it clear that bilateral cooperation is more effective than actions that bring together several countries at once. This framework, which brings together several countries in the Sahel and the Gulf of
Guinea, namely Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, aims to fight terrorism. Niger is admitted as an observer member along with Nigeria.
Drawing on his experience with the G5 Sahel Joint Force, President Mohamed Bazoum noted that to fight terrorism effectively, “we must give priority to things that are more easily achieved,” such as operations that take place on the border between two countries. The Nigerien leader stressed that it is very difficult to coordinate
military operations involving several countries.
His Beninese counterpart added that there can be a lot of red tape when the team is too big. “Our commitment to the Accra Initiative remains intact, but since we have satisfactory results for our bilateral action, we say that what works must be continued,” said Patrice Talon.
“The oil of Niger is Benin’s oil too!” Economic relations between Cotonou and Niamey also figure prominently in the Nigerien President’s visit to Benin. Mohamed Bazoum welcomed the partnership that links the two countries for the construction of a pipeline of more than 2000 kilometers to export crude oil produced in Agadem in southeastern Niger. “Niger’s oil is Benin’s oil”, Mohamed Bazoum said with amusement, recalling that this project allows the Beninese government to collect tax that will benefit its population.
On Monday, the Nigerian delegation visited the site of the Niger-Benin Export Pipeline Terminal (PENB). This terminal is located in the commune of Seme, a few kilometers from Cotonou. Of the 2000 kilometers
of the PENB, 684 km will cross Benin from north to south.
Work has been underway since May 2021 and is scheduled to end in 2023. The construction of the infrastructure is estimated at four billion dollars, including 1.3 billion for the Benin phase. Once completed, this pipeline will significantly increase Niger’s oil production. It will increase from 20,000 to 110,000 barrels per day.