The economic meltdown in Nigeria is affecting neighbouring countries, the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, has said.
Talon who is in Nigeria on a one-day visit spoke at a joint press briefing between him and his host, President Muhammadu Buhari.
He lamented that the economic downturn in Nigeria was gradually affecting his country and other nations in the West African sub region.
Describing Nigeria as the engine room of West Africa, Talon challenged Nigeria to begin to explore its non-oil potentials to boost the country’s revenue profile and its standing as a big brother in Africa.
Talon said he was looking forward to reactivatig the existing bilateral relationship between Benin and Nigeria especially in the areas of trade relations, economy, energy development and education.
He pledged to partner Nigeria in dealing with the problem of illicit trade affecting both countries.
Earlier, Buhari has said his administration was considering the possibility of using modern technology to transform gas into liquid form for easy export, especially to the West- African sub-region.
The president also said Nigeria is making efforts to ensure that the West African Gas Pipeline project becomes more efficient to stabilise the energy sectors across the West African sub-region.
Buhari said the government was doing everything possible to stabilise the gas pipelines to enhance electricity supply in Benin and other West African sub-region.
“The economy part of (our discussion) it is mainly energy, making sure that the West African Gas pipeline is made much more efficient.
This government is making all the efforts it can to stabilise the situation because the resources are there.
“The world knows that Nigeria has plenty of gas, what we need to do is to stabilise the environment so that this gas can be regularly pumped to the sub-region through the infrastructure already in place.
“Also, the Nigerian energy mixed is not doing too badly as gas can now be converted into liquid form gas, the technology is now available, to transfers to Benin Republic to run their power stations.
“The sad and long standing problem is the question of using Benin as a transit camp to bring a lot of goods into Nigeria.
“Under ECOWAS agreement, all we have to do is to remind ourselves about our respective national commitments that other than reall ECOWAS-originated commodities, we should not allow it.
If we get strict on that, I think Nigerian industries would benefit from ECOWAS agreements,’’ he said.