Onyeama, third right and other Nigerian officials with Benin officials, on the left

By Lizzy Okoji/Abuja

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has debunked the trending report that the Republic of Benin was aspiring to be the 37 State of Nigeria.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the denial on Saturday in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the misleading report was quoted out of context following the meeting with Onyeama and his Beninese counterpart on Feb. 18 in Abuja.

“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 37 State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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“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.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs was therefore quoted out of context and the general public should kindly disregard the wrong information,” the ministry urged.