Members of the House of Representatives and other prominent Nigerians on Thursday warned Nigeria against supporting the application by Morocco to join the Economic Community of West African States.
They also said Nigeria must not consider the option of exiting ECOWAS, having sacrificed so much for regional integration in the West African sub-region.
The stakeholders spoke at a public hearing in Abuja on the ‘Review of Nigeria’s Membership of ECOWAS in View of the Clamour to Admit Morocco into the Community.’
They include the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; Manufacturers Association of Nigeria; Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN); a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Dipo Fashina; a former Director-General of the NIIA, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa; and the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria.
The hearing was organised by the House Joint Committees on Foreign Relations and Cooperation/Integration in Africa chaired by a member from Abia State, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.
All the stakeholders held the view that Morocco joining ECOWAS would have regrettable economic and political consequences for the sub-region, particularly for Nigeria.
They also noted that Morocco and West Africa had no geographical closeness and would be a direct breach of the ECOWAS Treaty to admit a non-regional country into the bloc.
Both Akinterinwa and Falana noted that Nigeria was the target of Morocco’s plan, as the latter would use its tariff-free ties with the European Union to flood the country with foreign goods.
They also argued that Morocco would be used as a “destructive” and “destabilising agent” in West Africa.