Stakeholders in the country have warned against the proposed admittance of Morocco into Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).
Recall that on 5th October 2017, a referral was made by the House in plenary to the joint committees of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Integration in Africa vide a motion to review Nigeria’s continued membership of ECOWAS in view of the clamor to admit of Morocco into the regional body sponsored by Mr. Olatunbosun George (PDP, Oyo).
At a public hearing organised by the joint committees on Thursday in Abuja, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana said Morocco is not qualified among countries expected to be part of ECOWAS considering its geographical region.
According to Falana, the admission of Morocco will encourage other North African countries into ECOWAS which may lead to the change of the name “ECOWAS”.
The renown legal practitioner worried that Morocco’s admittance into ECOWAS will be an avenue for European Union to flood the West African market with goods and Nigeria will be a greater loser.
“It will lead to massive lose of jobs in Nigeria and other ECOWAS country”, Falana said.
He said Africa Union are in trouble today due to the admittance of Morocco.
Supporting further claim, National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) representative, Fred Agwu warned that Morocco is deceitful.
Agwu said “it will be very dangerous to Nigeria Security if Morocco is admitted into ECOWAS”.
He therefore recommend that Nigeria should use it’s effective power to ensure that Morocco do not get admitted into ECOWAS.
Also speaking against the admittance of Morocco into ECOWAS, former director general of NIIA, Professor Bola Akinterinwa revealed that Morocco proposed admittance is due to Indigenous People of Biafra agitation to brake up from Nigeria.
According to Prof. Akinterinwa, they want a situation whereby if Nigeria leaves ECOWAS, they will occupy it’s space.
“Morocco is likely to be used as an instrument to disintegrate Nigeria”, he said.
Earlier, minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyema hinted that the inclusion of Morocco into ECOWAS will be decided by the Head of States in the ECOWAS region.
Onyema while explaining further, said their inclusion will be an economic win to ECOWAS.
His words:”Morocco’s inclusion will be a trugian horse into the region considering its link with some European countries”.
Speaking for the minister shortly after he left for another official assignment, Foreign Affairs’ Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaiye explained that no final decision has been made by the Nigerian government on whether to admit Morocco into ECOWAS.
Declaring open the hearing, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara enjoined the committees to deeply look into Morocco’s decision in joining the ECOWAS in a way it will not be injurious to Nigeria.
On her part, chairperson of the committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje said in the course of the hearing, an analysis of the ECOWAS treaty and the admissibility of a country outside the geographical region be examined which will analyse the legal consequences and legal instrument in relation to the application for ascension, that will review the trade balance between the Kingdom of Morocco and Nigeria.
The joint committee however resolved that all issues raised at the hearing will be harnessed before it final conclusion and submission of its report to the House.
ECOWAS is made up of 15 Anglophone/ Francophone countries from West African region. Its activities are mainly spearheaded by Nigeria.
Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone which are among the Anglophone had already kicked against the proposed admittance of Morocco into ECOWAS.