Lawmakers at the National Assembly have condemned what they described as the “unlawful” encroachment and arrest of Nigerians by the government of the Republic of Benin.
The lawmakers directed the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, States and Local Governments to align with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and National Border Commission to urgently put in place the necessary mechanism that would provide lasting solutions to this issue.
According to a statement on Tuesday, the resolution by the upper chamber to intervene in the development was reached following a point of order raised by Senator Tolu Odebiyi (APC, Ogun West).
Following order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, Odebiyi recalled the numerous reports of alleged encroachments into Nigeria’s territory by authorities of the Republic of Benin, which he said had become increasingly disturbing.
Odebiyi said, “according to a report by a television station posted on the 2nd of July 2021, it was reported that, “gendarmes” from the Republic of Benin crossed illegally into the Nigerian territory to carry out the arrest of one Pastor Kunle Garb and Mr. Benjamin Amosu, his interpreter, who are residents of Igbokofi Village in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State for demanding the reversal of the land encroachment by Government of the Republic of Benin.
“Note that the arrest of these Nigerians is based on the allegation that they are resisting encroachment into Nigerian land through Igbokofi village in Yewa-North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
“Also note that these allegations of encroachment have been also flayed by the government of the state as published in a release from the State Government calling on the Federal Government to immediately secure the release of Nigerian citizens currently languishing in detention in the Republic of Benin as a result of their resistance to the continued encroachment.
“Aware that the continuous “unchecked” Egress and Ingress of persons at the different entry points and borders between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin – the country’s closest neighbour, are largely the result of the porosity of our country’s borders.”
The senator further stated that the said Pastor Kunle Garb and Mr. Benjamin Amosu were allegedly arrested in Nigeria in a Gestapo style and shipped to prison in Ajase, Port Novo area of Benin Republic, without an order of a competent court of jurisdiction in Nigeria.
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