Wide Angle

ECOWAS : Nigerian lobby groups against Morocco's membership according to Bloomberg

Morocco’s bid to join the ECOWAS is still yet to be studied after it was accepted in principle by the regional organization. However, Nigerian lobby groups are trying to force their government to reject the request according to Bloomberg.

ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria./Ph. DR
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Morocco’s application to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been accepted in principle on the 4th of July amid the organization’s summit held in Liberia. Since then, ECOWAS has been studying the Kingdom’s request before granting it the official and final OK. However, a number of Nigerian lobby groups have been attempting to pressure the government into refusing Morocco’s bid. According to an article issued today by Bloomberg, a privately held financial software, data, and media company headquartered in New York, some parts in Nigeria are not really happy with this step.

Quoting Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, the American media platform indicates that the west African country is currently examining «the implications of admitting Morocco following its request last month to join the organization». «The principle of course is one of non-hostility to Morocco», Onyeama said in an interview on the 20th of July. 

For Morocco’s admission to the West African organization, the Nigerian senior official stated that «there’s no enmity there that would mean an immediate and automatic negative response to such a request. What has to be looked at a bit more is all the technical ramifications».

Blocking Morocco's request

Despite the Minister’s declaration, Nigeria has refrained from sending a high-level delegation once knowing that the Kingdom will have to present its request. Protesting against the step, Onyeama pointed out that they (members of the organization) «would’ve preferred to have had the opportunity to discuss internally and this was not given by the Ecowas secretariat».

On the other hand, an organization of retired ambassadors has been trying to push the Nigerian government into refusing the Kingdom’s request. According to Bloomberg, the association is mainly motivated by «the decades-old dispute over Western Sahara and Morocco’s geographical distance». Furthermore, Nigeria is one of the countries that recognize the Polisario Front as the «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic».

These lobby groups are not the only parties that are against Morocco’s bid to join the ECOWAS. Indeed, in March 2017, Marcel de Souza, chairman of the West African organization was not very «enthusiastic» about the Kingdom’s decision. He set a series of arguments to support his opposition calling Morocco’s admission a «problem». «We are going to contradict the African Union's article which divides the continents into five regions», he said. He, however, suggested an alternative decision which consists of «setting up a joint commission so that in a month and a half we can sign an economic partnership agreement declaring Morocco as a privileged partner».

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