In bid to enhance air freight along the West African coast, major stakeholders in the Nigeria-Benin cross-border trade have canvassed a revival of the cargo airport in Ilorin, Kwara state to facilitate trade.
According to guardian.ng, the stakeholders, during a consultative meeting on the proposed Nigeria-Benin Joint Commission held at Chikanda, Kwara State, said the unused cargo airport, if properly utilised, could facilitate trade, especially for animal husbandry and perishable goods to Europe within six hours and to Lagos within 40 minutes.
The group, in a communiqué signed by the Chairman, Proposed Nigeria-Benin Permanent Joint Commission, Kayode Oguntuase and the Secretary, Ray Yetunde Odunta-Kwadje, said Kwara town should be an international hub for trade in goods and services, especially agricultural and perishable goods if the proper infrastructure were put in place.
It stated: “Chikanda, a district in Baruten Local Government in Kwara State is the border town to Benin Republic on the North Central part of Kwara. This town should essentially be an international hub centre for trade in goods and services.
“Despite being the food basket of Kwara State, it has no infrastructure to facilitate cross-border trade.
Chikanda should be an international trade hub and gateway for trade between Benin Republic and Nigeria,”
The group has, however, set up a National Steering Committee in order to have a solid structure for the implementation of the proposed Nigeria-Benin Permanent Joint Commission.
The committee comprises at least one or two representatives from the six-state borders, one representative from each chamber of commerce from border states, one from the border community, and one from the private sector/traditional rulers.