Morocco’s bid to join ECOWAS is creating tension among Nigerian MPs

Morocco’s admission to ECOWAS is still making headlines in Nigeria. MPs at the Nigerian House of Representatives have raised their concerns regarding the Kingdom’s bid to be part of the regional organization. On the other hand, on Wednesday, a Moroccan-Nigerian Parliamentary Friendship Group held its inaugural meeting in Abuja to discuss mutual agreements and economic projects between the two nations. Details.

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The House of Representatives in Abuja, Nigeria./Ph. DR

Morocco has expressed interest in joining the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWA) through a letter sent by King Mohammed VI. A decision that was both welcomed and criticized by several Nigerian politicians and former senior officials. Although Morocco’s bid has not been approved yet, a number of Nigerian MPs raised worries on Thursday at Nigeria’s House of Representatives regarding Morocco’s will to be part of the regional economic organization.

As reported by the Punch, a Nigerian online newspaper, the MPs warned against the presence of Morocco pointing out that it might negatively affect their country and lead to «economic and political complications».  They have also passed a «resolution» to the House of Representatives in Abuja urging the Committees on Foreign Relations and Regional Integration to :

«Undertake an appraisal of the matter and make recommendations on ways to ensure that Nigeria is protected from any adverse effects that can result from the admission of Morocco into the ECOWAS».

Moreover, the resolution initiated by Bosum George-Oladele, a Nigerian representative and 23 other MPs suggested that Morocco is targeting the Nigerian market through its bid using the «duty-free trade ties» with Europe. To support its position, the group of MPs argued saying that «ECOWAS has a large market of over 340 million consumers, 55 per cent of whom are from Nigeria and that this massive market is of great interest to Morocco, which is a key trading partner of the European Union». «Morocco enjoys a non-tariff economic partnership with the EU, if it is admitted into the ECOWAS (…) European goods will inevitably flood the ECOWAS», they added. In other words, lawmakers want Nigeria to leave the union if other members of the ECOWAS accept the Moroccan bid.

Reacting diffrently to Morocco's bid to join ECOWAS

Contrary to what is happening at the House of Representatives in Abuja. The Morocco-Nigeria Parliamentary Friendship Group held on Wednesday its inaugural meeting in the same city. According to MAP news agency, the meeting was held under the joint chairmanship of the Senate’s deputy speaker and Abdelilah Hifdi, chairman of the Moroccan group and was attended by Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and  King Mohammed VI’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Moha Ouali Tagma.

The meeting was held to discuss the important agreements signed during the visit of the sovereign to Nigeria and highlight the agreement on the pipeline and fertilizers, which will contribute to the economic development of both countries and the whole region.

Unlike other MPs, the Nigerian Senate «has reiterated its support for the strengthening of political and economic relations between Nigeria and Morocco» through the inauguration of the friendship group between the two nations.

Although, some Nigerian officials showed disagreement with Morocco’s admission to the Economic Community of West African Countries, it has not been decided on the bid yet. ECOWAS’ final decision will be delivered at the next summit of the organization.

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