ECOWAS refutes allegation of recruitment bias as Nigeria threatens to withdraw membership

THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has dismissed allegation of recruitment bias made by some Nigerian lawmakers, insisting the union’s staffing process was competitive.

Nigeria had threatened to withdraw its membership from ECOWAS over what it described as lopsided staff recruitments.

The lawmakers said Nigeria has been shortchanged in recruitments by the sub-regional body.

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However, Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s Recruitment Committee Edwin Snowe said during a media chat in Abuja on Sunday that the allegation was a “misrepresentation” of the facts.

“Recruitment into the ECOWAS institutions is very competitive and cannot short-change any country let alone Nigeria that has made invaluable contributions to the development of the community.

“There was no resolution reached at the plenary to suspend recruitment into the P5 positions as is being insinuated by Nigerian legislators. Nigerians are adequately represented in ECOWAS Parliament and other institutions of the community,” Snowe insisted.

Last Friday, Nigeria’s representatives at the parliament said following several reports of lopsidedness in employment, lawmakers had passed a resolution during its 2022 First Ordinary Session held from 9 June to July 3, to suspend all recruitments to allow for an audit of the exercise.

Leader of the Nigerian delegation and the First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Ahmed Idris Wase said it had become imperative that Nigeria reviews 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.

“There are few countries that want to run ECOWAS like a cabal but we will not tolerate that. “Yes, we will pull out if we don’t get the desired result from this,” Wase was quoted as saying.

In July this year, the Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS Musa Nuhu wrote to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Sidie Mohamed Tunis, to complain about nepotistic employment scandal at the ECOWAS.

    The letter was titled, “Formal Complaint About Unfair Treatment and Confirmation of Staff at the ECOWAS Parliament.”

    Parts of the letter read: “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.

    “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.”

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