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The Seme-Krake Joint Border Post funded by the EU for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) was handed over to the Governments of Nigeria and Benin on Tuesday, 23 October, 2018. President Muhammadu Buhari and his Benin counterpart, Patrice Talon, inaugurated the facility in the presence of the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, and his colleague in Benin.
The Joint Border Post (JBP) of Sèmè-Kraké between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Benin was built in the framework of the ECOWAS Road Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme, an integral part of the regional strategy for implementing a comprehensive action programme on infrastructure and road transport. It is a modern border, built according to international standards to meet the expectations of the ECOWAS people.
The Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, described the facility as a great symbol of EU partnership with ECOWAS, Nigeria and Benin. "We are now one step closer towards the free movement and regional integration of ECOWAS with the state-of-the art border management that we inaugurate today," Ambassador Karlsen said.
According to Ambassador Karlsen, the completion and commissioning of the border facilities translates into multiple advantages in terms of economic, environmental, social and political benefits, including: significant reduction in transit time for people, goods and services, as well as the reduction of transport and transaction costs; decisively reducing harassment, extortion and corrupt practices; and bringing together border officials from neighbouring countries.
The facility at the Nigeria-Benin border is one of the three such projects funded and completed by the EU in the ECOWAS region. The others are at the Ghana-Togo and Bénin-Niger borders. President Buhari, in his capacity as the Chairman of the ECOWAS, thanked the EU for funding the projects.
Among others, the Joint Border Post aims to improve regional integration; free movement of persons and goods in the region; intra-regional trade; and cross-border cooperation and security, among others.