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Nigeria, Niger, Benin Signs MoU to Bolster Cross-Border Co-operation  

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Khadijat Saidu, Birning Kebbi

Nigeria and the Republics of Benin and Niger have signed an agreement to bolster cross-border cooperation among the three countries.

The agreement was signed and sealed on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi, at the validation of the holistic program for the development of the Kado cross-border area.

The meeting on Dec. 1, 2022, was attended by the delegations of the Federated State of Kebbi (Nigeria), the Department of Alibori (Benin), and the Region of Dosso (Niger).

The historic meeting was also attended by officials of the National Boundary Commission,   ECOWAS, other donors, and technical partners like GIZ, among others.

Reading the resolution of the meeting, Dr. Faruk Musa from the National Boundary Commission of Nigeria said that the agreement was aimed at building on the objectives of the multilateral cooperation existing among the three countries.

Musa further said that part of the resolutions was to strengthen the development of the area known as ” Kado- Kebbi, Alibori and Dosso’, with the support of inter-governmental organizations and other partners.

Musa said:” They are also committed to making Kebbi, Aliboro, and Dosso cross-border area as a shared development space.

”This is with the view to promoting economic and social activities that strengthen the coexistence and resilience of the population.

”They are also committed to ensuring political support as well as local leadership in the implementation and operations of the various initiatives.”

Musa also stated that there would be support for activities in favor of livestock mobility between and within different territorial entities of Kado.

He said: ”Act in favor of livestock access to shared natural resources in the Kado cross-border area.

”Support the securing of pastoral spaces in accordance with the orientations of the national policies of our countries.”

Musa explains that the resolutions include the launch of an appeal to technical and financial partners and inter-governmental organizations.

This, he noted, was with a view to continuing the efforts to revitalize the Kado cross-border consultative framework.

Dr. Faruk Musa added:”’ Continue their support through the financing and effective implementation of Kado’s holistic integrated development program validated today.

”Build an alliance in favor of the controlled transformations of pastoralism by exploiting the comparative advantage of the different areas in Kado done on Dec. 1st, 2022, at Birnin Kebbi.”    

Speaking earlier, the chief host and Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu acknowledged cordial relations that had been existing between the three countries for decades.

He said the two regions of Dosso and Alibori in Niger and Benin republic have historical ties with Kebbi State. “Kebbi borders Niger and Benin republics. The three cross-border communities have been living together for many years.

They intermarried, the people and their traditional rulers have transhuman and border relationship”, he said.

He added that all the relevant stakeholders had held useful discussions that were validated for the development of the three border regions.

The Governor outlined some of the numerous interventions of his administration to better the lives of Fulanis.

 “Kebbi has programs that touch the lives of pastoralists. We provided nomadic schools, light, and water in their settlements. We also sponsored Hotungo Festival to attract pastoralists from other African regions”, Bagudu said.

He, however, said that those mutual relations were now formalized with the workable agreement signed among them and pledged continuous support to the success of the multilateral cooperation.

Also speaking, the Representative of ECOWAS, Mr. Alain SY. Traore said it was committed to assisting in ensuring that the agreement was religiously implemented by providing both financial and technical support.

He commended the Governor for providing a conducive atmosphere and support for the success of the cross-border agreement on pastoralism and transhuman.

Earlier, the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission of Nigeria, Surveyor Adamu Adaji said the program was apt owing to the security challenges arising from conflicts between herders and farmers across West Africa and the Sahel.

According to him, pastoralism was the main source of livelihood for a large population in West Africa and contribute greatly to the economy of the region, hence the need to give top priority to the project.

He acknowledged the immeasurable contribution of the Kebbi State Governor towards the project.

The Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries, Aminu Garba Dandiga in his welcome address said the meeting further cemented the existing relationship of the countries in the region.

He thanked Governor Atiku Bagudu for hosting the validation meeting and the previous ones held earlier in Kebbi State.

The Governor of Dosso, Niger Republic, Albachir Aboubakar, and that of Alibori, Benin Republic in their separate remarks all pledged their commitment to the implementation, of the resolution signed for the betterment of their people.

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