• Short Summary

    Dahomey's President Hubert Maga flew to Lagos on Friday (April 30) for a crowded one-day state visit to Nigeria.

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    Dahomey's President Hubert Maga flew to Lagos on Friday (April 30) for a crowded one-day state visit to Nigeria. The Nigerian Head of State, Major-General Yakubu Gowon, accompanied his guest throughout the visit which included closed-door talks.

    SYNOPSIS: President Hubert Maga of Dahomey flew to Lagos on Friday for a crowded one-day state visit to neighbouring Nigeria. He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Daouda Badarou, and the Minister of Economic Affairs and Planning, Mr. Joseph Keke. The President and his high-level delegation were greeted at the airport by the Nigerian Head of state, Major-General Yakubu Gowon, who accompanied President Maga throughout his visit.

    The formal welcoming ceremonies at the airport included the customary guard of honour for the visiting statesmen. Later came a less formal welcome from Nigeria's traditional dancers. President Maga's trip had only been announced in Cotonou twenty-four hours earlier. The prime purpose was said to be talks aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries, though some observers speculated whether the recent black African move towards a dialogue with South Africa would also be under review.

    Large crowds in Lagos turned out to add to the welcome when the two heads of state drove through the city. Later they had a session of closed-door talks at the Dodan Barracks residence of General Gowon.

    The talks were followed by a reception thrown in President Maga's honour and attended by Nigerian ministers.

    Later, the guests sat down to a state banquet, at which the toast was the continuing co-operation between the two neighbouring countries. President Maga subsequently said that this visit had helped solve economic problems arising from agreement reached between the two countries last August, when General Gowon visited Dahomey.

    Prior to his departure, President Maga attended a news conference. He refused to go into detail about his talks with General Gowon, saying that his trip was primarily a courtesy visit. Asked if he would describe black African leaders who favour a dialogue with South Africa as enemies of unity on the continent, he replied that he would certainly not take that view. No black African leader, he said, was in favour of Apartheid. But approaches on how to eradicate what he called the "evil" of apartheid differed radically in different capitals. Despite the lack of detailed information about the talks in Lagos, both sides a seemed to be well-pleased with the success of the visit.

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