Nigeria protests skewed employment in ECOWAS

August 6, 2022
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Nigeria is spurred for war over the skewed recruitment in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Nation Weekend, learnt.

Nigeria is asking that it should be accorded the rights due to her, else will reconsider its membership of the regional body. The Nigerian legislatures are threatening to champion Nigeria’s exit from the regional body if the ongoing illegal recruitment is not halted.

Leader of the Nigerian delegation and Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, who is also the First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Ahmed Idris Wase said it has 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 investigating 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,” he said.

“We are asking for justice not just for Nigerians alone, but for the entire ECOWAS community. That is what MPs are asking for. There are few countries that want to run ECOWAS like a cabal but we will not tolerate that,” he added.

Wase’s outburst may not be unconnected with the letter by the Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Musa Nuhu to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis on the nepotistic employment scandal rocking ECOWAS.

The letter from Nuhu was dated July 20, 2022, and titled, “Formal complaint about unfair treatment and confirmation of staff at the ECOWAS parliament.”

The letter reads: “I have the honour to refer to our verbal discussion on the above subject matter and formally inform you that the attention of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the ECOWAS Commission has been drawn to a number of complaints by Nigerian staff working at the ECOWAS Parliament.

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”The grievances border around stagnation and overlooking of staff already working in the parliament in favour of outsiders in the ongoing recruitment for divisional heads and professional staff.

”This action directly contravenes the recommendations of the 30th meeting of the ECOWAS Administrative and Finance Committee as well as the position of the Council of Ministers, which directed that internal candidates should be prioritised in filling existing vacancies in ECOWAS institutions, as recommended in the Staff Skills Audit Report.

”The Honourable Speaker may kindly wish to note that the mission has examined the complaints of the staff of the parliament based on existing staff regulations as well as the decisions and guidelines given by the AFC and Council of Ministers for ECOWAS institutions to carry out the recruitment and found that their grievances are genuine.

“Therefore, as you rightly observed during our discussions, recruiting individuals outside the system to place them above the existing staff would only lead to discontent, demoralisation, and continued stagnation of the staff. This will inevitably affect the overall performance of the Parliament.”

Wase reiterated that Nigeria has done so much for ECOWAS, explaining that over 60 percent of ECOWAS funding comes from Nigeria.

Last month, at the 2022 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament, the lawmakers passed a resolution to suspend the recruitment exercise after Nigerian representatives at the parliament alleged discrimination and lopsidedness in the recruitment of workers at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja.

When contacted, the Secretary General of the Parliament John Azumah from Ghana 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.

“For me, I don’t have any information about this, but let me tell you this, the First Deputy Speaker would have done himself good if he had called me to explain what is happening in ECOWAS to him. I don’t know where they got that information from. 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 institution 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. For me, if you have that, you have to rely on some credible officers to validate the veracity or otherwise of the information before you come to the floor. When they were talking, I was just laughing my heart out. I am telling you the truth because they were just ridiculing themselves,” he added.

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