How Buratai’s Ambassadorial Posting Will Benefit Nigeria, Benin – HURIWA
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lauded the appointment of a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai (Rtrd.), as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic.
HURIWA described the posting as a masterstroke by President Muhammadu Buhari towards utilizing the former army chief’s wealth of experience in service to the country over the years to end the problem of artificial border
In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Media Affairs Director; Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA stated that the appointment of Buratai as Nigeria’s Envoy to Benin Republic was a rare display of insight by the president because of the gains that would accrue the country in the task at hand.
Expressing gladness that the president has thought it wise and expedient to use experienced and purposeful diplomatic leadership in addressing the problem of Nigeria-Benin porous border, HURIWA noted that it has no doubts with regard to Buratai’s ability to deliver on the critical task before him citing that his resume is rich and replete with acts of patriotism that would make any nation green with envy.
The group said: “Irrespective of some misgivings in certain quarters due to lack of clarity, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai left indelible landmarks on the sand of times and built formidably progressive military institution before his voluntary retirement
“Borderlands are both melting pots and security hot spots. Often neglected in the development strategies of postcolonial states, they are an arena for cross-border crime and represent a dynamic place of historically fostered cultural and socio-economic exchange at the same time. One of the most vital border regions in West Africa is the frontier between Nigeria and Benin. Both economies depend to a large extent on their cross-border trade, illegal and legal.
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“The Nigeria’s new envoy to Benin Republic is no stranger to security issues and well-positioned to render invaluable services in revising the cross border lines and improving economic and trade relations between the two countries. We commend the president and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this regard because Nigeria would be the ultimate beneficiary in this trying period in the country. We must also admit that Lieutenant General T. Y Buratai (Rtd.) is an asset that every nation would want to possess because of his penchant for delivering results in critical tasks as evident in his performance over the years.
“For a fact, Buratai stands tall as Nigerians envoy to neighbouring Benin Republic and we have no reservations in his appointment. More so, we are aware of his commitment to the Nigerian cause in the course of the several engagements he has had with the intelligentsia in Nigeria. He has always been robust in his thoughts and engagements which somewhat culminated in the establishment of the Nigerian Army University, which greatly boosted scholarly engagement in ways to tackle insurgency in Nigeria,” HURIWA explained.
HURIWA further noted that this appointment of Buratai would not only be beneficial to Nigeria but to Africa at large because of the strategic deep historical economic ties, reflecting the geographical and cultural proximity Nigeria and Benin have, coupled with the leadership role that Nigeria plays in the African continent.
Urging the President of Benin Republic, H.E., Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon not to be swayed by the ongoing campaign of calumny to malign the person of Lt.Gen Buratai (Rtd.) but to expedite action in accrediting the new envoy so he could immediately start his new assignment as his antecedents could not be overemphasized at this critical point in the existing diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
He said: “Buratai’s activities in Benin would indeed make Nigeria and Africa proud as he has done in times past evident in the countless recognitions he has brought to the country from wide and far. He will in no distant time redefine patriotism and commitment to the African cause in the global arena so much to the envy of other countries. His appointment is indeed credible, timely and a welcome development.”
As regards expanding the frontiers of Benin–Nigeria trade relations, HURIWA said that the future of Benin–Nigeria trade relations depended on the envisaged strategies for improving trade relations with Nigeria and preserving the competitiveness of the Beninese economy vis-à-vis its neighbour to the east. These strategies according to the rights group concern both the administrative authorities and the economic actors themselves.
Continuing, HURIWA identified different strands the new envoy should concentrate on and develop so as to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between Nigeria and Benin Republic which includes setting up a new bilateral cooperation instruments.
“Benin–Nigeria cooperation is governed by several bilateral agreements concluded within the framework of the Benin–Nigeria Commission, which meets periodically. Despite the existence of this legal framework, cooperation between Benin and Nigeria does not always meet the expectations of the public of these two countries, who have set up several cross-border cooperation associations in the border corridors.
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“For Nigerian and Beninese companies, the free movement of people and goods rings hollow. Buratai must mediate for these cooperation instruments to insist on ending the harassment of traders, that new infrastructure be put in place for Benin’s Informal Trading with Nigeria along the border, such as central purchasing offices and storage warehouses, and that road crossings are cleaned up, etc.”
On the strategies for economic actors, HURIWA observed that various economic actors who would like to do business in Nigeria have very little knowledge of the country and how its market functions.
To correct this, HURIWA recommended that it is vital that the new envoy sets up a mechanism for consultation and partnership between the chambers of commerce of the two countries, to resolve the problems of susceptibility linked to mutual mistrust in addition to create cross-border cooperation associations involving all the economic actors who are active in the border corridors, in order to better secure and facilitate the movement of people and goods.
It said : “Trade within the region, which predates the colonial period was altered by colonial economic and political relations, and further adapted to post-colonial political and social developments, most importantly divergent trade and other economic policies. Both Benin and Nigeria are members of the larger regional group; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which encompasses both the Francophone and Anglophone nations of West Africa.
“To end the problem of artificial border, it has to do with collective responsibility from both Nigeria and Benin, irrespective of their political orientations by colonizers. The borderline needs to be revised to determine well defined border lines, so as to avoid illegal encroachments. Programmes should be initiated to ensure the reduction of poverty among citizens of the countries and border communities so as to manage the challenge of unemployment.
“This can be achieved only when there is a purposeful leadership cutting across the connected countries. Hence, the posting of Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai (Rtd.) as Ambassador to Benin Republic is a big boost to improving relations between Nigeria and Benin while exploring new vistas of cooperation and a step in the right direction in galvanizing the support of the international community in the quest towards addressing the security challenges in the sub-region.”
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His death was confirmed by Prince Oyesinmilola Diya. He said the former military administrator of Ogun State passed on to glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023.
Born on the 3rd of April, 1944, Diya was military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari-Idiagbon coup of December 31st, 1983.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
While serving in the military, Diya studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He held other top military posts like GOC, 82 Division and finally the Chief of General Staff (military Vice President) to Gen Sani Abacha
The statement read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear Husband,Father, Grandfather,brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.
“Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.”
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