Experts warn against admitting Morocco into ECOWAS

Say admission will whittle down Nigeria’s diplomatic influence

The Federal Government has been urged to use the opportunity of hosting the forthcoming Economic Community of West Africa States’ summit in Abuja to exert pressure in rejecting proposed Morocco’s membership of the ECOWAS.

It was also advised to consider the option of deferring Morocco’s membership of ECOWAS rather than a total withdrawal from the regional body.

These were the submissions made at a one-day seminar organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and held in Lagos yesterday with the theme, “The ECOWAS and Morocco’s quest for Membership: What Implications?”Eminent foreign relations experts, who attended the gathering from the NIIA and Nigerian universities include Prof. Amadu Sesay, Prof. Fred Agwu, Prof. Charles Dokubo and Prof. Alaba Ogunsanwo, among others.

They declared that Nigeria should resist any attempt to revise the ECOWAS Treaty, as it would not be in its best interest and the interest of the ECOWAS in the long-run.

The experts submitted that since Morocco is a monarchical governmental structure, its membership might undermine the consolidation of democracy in West Africa.According to them, Morocco’s membership of ECOWAS will inhibit key agencies of the body to operate effectively, especially in the instance of the African Standby Force

“That allowing Morocco membership of ECOWAS will revive the Francophone/Anglophone divide in ECOWAS. That Morocco is observed to have destructive tendencies in most organization it belongs. Thus, given a chance, it will do the same thing in ECOWAS. Morocco’s membership of ECOWAS will whittle down Nigeria’s diplomatic influence not only in the ECOWAS region, but also in the international community.

“The economic implication of Morocco’s membership of ECOWAS will be the influx of excessive goods in Nigeria and West Africa, and possible adverse effects on Nigeria’s market and economy, especially with regards to the cottage industries,” they said.

Besides, the Director-General of the NIIA, Prof. Bukar Bukarambe, who noted that there is no history of any regional member from West Africa trying to join Southern African group or Northern African group trying to join another group, said: “ECOWAS is Economic Community of West African States. Morocco is not a West African State and it is trying to join ECOWAS. Also, Morocco is trying to join the ECOWAS as well as the Arab Migrant Union.

Morocco’s attempt to join ECOWAS springs out of the fact that there is a crisis in the Arab region. In that regards, one can understand that Morocco’s attempt to join ECOWAS is to expand its base, trade, influence and opportunities since ECOWAS is more attractive.”

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