The House of Representatives on Thursday mandated two of its committees to examine the possibility of Nigeria leaving the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) following Morocco’s bid to join the sub-regional body.
The House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration are expected to consider the review of Nigeria’s membership of the body, especially Article 91 of the Revised Treaty which entitles a member state to withdraw from the body upon giving the Executive Secretary one years’ notice in writing.
The resolution of the House followed the passage of a motion by Hon. Bosun George Oladele and five other lawmakers with the title: ” Call for the review of Nigeria’s continued membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) in view of the clamour to admit Morocco unto the Community.”
While moving the motion, Oladele who represents Irepo/Olorunsogo/Oorelope federal constituency, said the ECOWAS was established to amongst other things, foster relations and enhance economic stability among member states in the West African region.
He, however, noted that “the Arab Kingdom of Morocco, which is in North Africa and is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, in June 2017, applied to join the ECOWAS.
“The Arab Maghreb Union was established to foster relations among Arab nations just as the ECOWAS is for nations in West Africa,” he noted.
The lawmaker said the ECOWAS Commission is expected to make recommendations on the application, which would be considered at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the meeting of the Organization in December in Lome, Togo.
He expressed concern that an ECOWAS institution such as the ECOWAS Parliament has begun to fraternize with Morocco despite the fact that it does not share common boundaries with any ECOWAS member state.
Part of the motion reads:
“Cognizant that ECOWAS has a large market of over three hundred and forty (340) million consumers, fifty-five percent (55%) of whom are from Nigeria and that this massive market is of great interest to Morocco, which is a key trading partner of the European Union;
“Also cognizant that the revised ECOWAS Treaty of 1993 discourages multiple membership by its member States, as this could complicate the move towards both regional and continental integration, thus Morocco does not meet the criteria for admission into the ECOWAS;
“Also concerned that since Morocco enjoys a non-tariff economic partnership with the European Union, if it is admitted into the ECOWAS, it will enjoy Free Trade Area status and therefore, European goods will inevitably flood the ECOWAS market through Morocco, thus adversely affecting the production and manufacturing sector of Nigeria and its economy as a whole;
“Further concerned that ECOWAS appears determined to go ahead with the admission of Morocco into the Community as a member state to the detriment of Nigeria’s economic and political interests;
“Aware that Article 91 of the Revised Treaty entitles a member State to withdraw from the Community upon giving to the Executive Secretary one year’s notice in writing;
“Also aware that for Nigeria to review its relationship and status in ECOWAS, the House of Representatives ought to be well informed for a proper and beneficial decision to be taken in the interest of the country;
“Determined to ensure that Nigeria and the West African sub region does not fall prey to a plan that could enslave the citizens and jeopardize the economy of the subregion;
Others who co-sponsored the motion are Honourables Bassey Eko Ewa, Dickson D. Tarkighir, Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi, Mani Aminu Ashiru and Shehu Garba Sarkin-Noma.