Amb. Lawrence Obisakin, Nigeria Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, said that a new identification card would soon be issued to prospective investors in order to boost economic activities between the neighbouring ECOWAS countries.
Obisakin said this on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Badagry, Lagos State. "We are making plans to create a new identification card, which would facilitate human movement across the border. Priority should be given to Nigerians because we are close to Benin Republic; so, we want to create an identification card that would be issued from the Nigerian Embassy. It would be on the same footing with that of all Francophone countries.
"The card would be bilingual --in French and English-- so that security agencies of the two countries can read the details and the database would be made available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The creation and use of the card would help ease so many problems that Nigerians encounter at the border, " he said. Obisakin said that the major challenge faced by Nigerians was the non-completion of the construction of Seme border.
"We hope that the Seme Border would be completed as soon as possible, as this would help the security agencies perform their duties more effectively. Because the construction work has not been completed, some Nigerians believe that with any kind of identification card, they can cross the border.
Every country has its rules and guidelines; if you want to go to Benin, you must have a valid Nigerian passport and valid document, and ordinary card cannot get you through, " he said.
The Ambassador advised Nigerians not to travel with large sums of money, and to always register themselves at the Nigerian Embassy. "People who travel to other countries must be knowledgeable about the place and must be cautious about their health. The first thing to do when you land in another country is to go to your country's embassy to make your presence known, so that, in case anything happens, you can be easily traced."