The federal government on Thursday clarified that no part of the country was invaded or encroached by Benin Republic authorities.The government said the errorneous report on the invasion of some parts of Kwara state was capable of sparking diplomatic row between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
It described some media report on the alleged invasion of 16 villages in Baruten local government area of Kwara state as untrue.
The Director- General, National Boundary Commission (NBC), Dr Mohammed Bose Ahmad, made the clarification while speaking with newsmen shortly after he led a delegation to the palace of Emir of Okuta in Baruten LG, Alhaji Idris Sero Abubakar.
He said no inch of Nigeria known to the federal government has been encroached.
In the DG’s team were the state commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Alhaji Haruna Tambiri Mohammed; his permanent secretary, Alhaji Sharu Koro Mohammed and top officials of the boundary commission.
They were in the town to ascertain the veracity of the report of alleged invasion of 16 communities in Okuta, a border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic where the latter’s flags were said to have been hoisted.
The state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, said the state government was displeased with the report because of the way it portrays Nigeria in the international community.
But the Emir of Okuta who was reported to have corroborated the alleged invasion, denied granting any interview to any news medium on the matter, saying there was never a time he was contacted.
Some national dailies had reported that about 16 communities that bordered Benin Republic in Kwara were invaded by the neighbouring country’s security apparatus and hoisted flags.
The Boundary commission boss explained that the territorial areas of the country were manned by relevant security agencies and could not be attacked under whatever guise.
Ahmad noted that borders between Nigeria and its neighbours are preserves of the federal government while efforts would be intensified to ensure that the border posts are kept safe.He said the commission would not shirk its responsibilities of demarcating the country’s borders to avoid encroachment, adding that the commission was charged with determining and preserving boundary issues.
The NBC boss promised to report the Emir of Okuta’s refutal of the alleged invasion of the villages Vice President Yemi Osinbajo .
He also assured that the commission would take action in few months on the border areas with Benin Republic.
The state commissioner for Local Government Affairs said that the government was concerned with the alarm raised in the false report, which necessitated the dispatching of the team to find out the veracity of the claim.
Mohammed said the state government was embarrassed by the report.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Okuta has denied the report of the alleged invasion of communities within his domain by Benin Republic authorities.
He described it as figment of imagination of the writers because he was never contacted on the true position of things in his domain by any reporter.
The monarch exonerated his emirate council of the alleged invasion, saying he would never be part of any contrived plot to destabilize Nigeria.
Also speaking, the chairman, Baruten council area, Mr Mohammed Omar Bio, warned against any report that could incite public unrest.
He said the council has been living in peace with people of neighbouring Benin Republic, pointing out that it would be unfair to allege that the communities in the council area were invaded by armed men.