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Nigerian legislators threaten to withdraw ECOWAS Parliament membership

ECOWAS

By Lizzy Okoji

Lawmakers representing Nigeria at the ECOWAS Parliament have threatened to withdraw their membership following a breach of a resolution passed by the house to suspend all recruitment process and other irregularities.

This is coming following the allegations of lopsided recruitment exercise at the ECOWAS parliament which is manifestly skewed to serve the personal interest of member states excluding Nigeria.

Some Nigerian Lawmakers, who spoke with correspondents of the Parliament in Abuja, said that during the 2022 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament which held from June 9, to in July 3,  a resolution was passed to suspend all recruitments.

They said that the decision was made following several reports of undue process and lopsidedness in the exercise, resolving that the exercise will be resumed following the outcome of the audit report.

The Nigerian lawmakers also cited the huge financial commitments which Nigeria makes to the body while relegating funding its internal security challenges.

They noted that there was no commensurate return on investment for Nigeria in ECOWAS for all the country had done and is doing for the region.

Rep. Idris Wase, Deputy Speaker, Nigeria House of Representatives, who is also the first Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, told newsmen that it had become imperative that Nigeria review its relevance and membership of the bloc.

“If you are in a system and you are not getting the right results, where you are investing your money, it pays best to walk out of the union.

“In a situation where we are having an infrastructural deficit and witnessing security challenges, why should we continue to invest our money, where it will not benefit our country.

“Yes, we will pull out if we don’t get the desired result from this.”

According to Wase, the Nigerian constitution in Section 14 (4) provides that, the composition of government shall be in a manner that it reflects the federal character.

“Now, we have people who possibly have one opportunity and they want to bring in their relatives, and their siblings against the larger interest of our community.

“Common judgment teaches us that when you have nations coming together, we should do the distribution in such a way that justice and fairness takes the centre stage.

“If Nigeria had not asked for 60 per cent benefit in ECOWAS before now, it must have been a mistake “because our dividend should be equivalent to our contribution and investment.

“And if that is not done and the little that we have in the system is being humiliated, we will not take it.

“From the National Assembly of Nigeria, we are also going to probe our Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Finance Minister who is giving the money and the Commissioner, representing us at the Commission.

“We will expose everybody from the Nigerian Parliament and sanctions will follow. We will sanction anybody found wanting in the process,” Wase said.

Also, Rep. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, Nigerian lawmaker representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives said, “The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament is duty bound to respect the resolutions of Parliament.

“If he does not respect the resolution of Parliament, I wonder which Parliament he is heading. So, it is left for him to answer where he stands.

“You know, probably some of us are not well experienced, relative to Parliamentary requirements and procedures.

“Therefore, if one is not experienced, we could expect this kind of action. But the Speaker is duty bound to obey the resolution of Parliament,” Abiante said.

Amb. Musa Nuhu, Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, had also written to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis,  over the nepotistic employment scandal rocking ECOWAS.

Nuhu  in his letter dated July 20, 2022 lodge a formal complaint about unfair treatment and confirmation of staff at the ECOWAS parliament.

The lawmaker among other things complained about the alleged recruitment of individuals outside the system to place them above the existing staff

Secretary General of the Parliament,  John Azumah, from Ghana when contacted said he was unaware of any audit report that talked about employment and promotion.

“I don’t know where they got that information from that they were talking, but you know that on the floor of the Parliament, you cannot stop them.

“There is no audit report like that. It is true that ECOWAS did a skill audit some time ago, but it was inconclusive. The skill audit that was done for the whole ECOWAS institutions was inconclusive.

“So, if you went and were extracting information and you got something from staff, you are looking for your interest, sometimes they will give you half information, because of their interest. They would not give you the full information, then you just pick it as an MP and you start talking.

“The staff will tell you that this is happening at the Commission, this is happening at the court and this is happening at the Parliament, it is not true, just because of their interest,” Azumah said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the motion to suspend the recruitment and promotion in the ECOWAS Parliament was moved by Rep. Awajim Abiante, a Nigerian lawmaker at the ECOWAS Parliament.

The motion was seconded by Sen. Biodun Olujimi, a Nigerian Lawmaker at the Parliament, supported by Hon. Yousoufa Bida and concurrently agreed by the house (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

 

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Edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

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