In a resolution the House passed in Abuja, the members asked 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.”
The resolution followed a motion moved by Mr. Bosun George-Oladele and 23 others.
Several members kicked against Morocco joining the sub-regional group, saying that its target was to access Nigeria’s market, using the advantage of the duty-free trade ties Morocco had with Europe.
The full argument of the motion read, “The House notes that the ECOWAS was established to, among other things, foster relations and enhance economic stability among member states in the West African region;
“That the Arab Kingdom of Morocco, which is in North Africa and is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, in June 2017, applied to join the ECOWAS;
“Further notes that the Arab Maghreb Union was established to foster relations among Arab nations just as the ECOWAS is for nations in West Africa;
“Informed that the ECOWAS Commission is expected to make recommendations on the application, which will be considered at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the meeting of the organisation in December 2017 in Lome, Togo;
“Concerned that an ECOWAS institution such as the ECOWAS Parliament has begun to fraternise with Morocco despite the fact that it does not share common boundaries with any ECOWAS member state;
“Cognisant 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;
“Also cognisant that the revised ECOWAS Treaty of 1993 discourages multiple membership by its member states, as this could complicate the move towards both regional and continental integration, thus Morocco does not meet the criteria for admission into the ECOWAS;
“Also concerned that since Morocco enjoys a non-tariff economic partnership with the EU, if it is admitted into the ECOWAS, it will enjoy Free Trade Area status and therefore, European goods will inevitably flood the ECOWAS market through Morocco, thus adversely affecting the production and manufacturing sector of Nigeria and its economy as a whole;
“Further concerned that ECOWAS appears determined to go ahead with the admission of Morocco into the community as a member state to the detriment of Nigeria’s economic and political interests; and aware that Article 91 of the Revised Treaty entitles a member state to withdraw from the community upon giving to the Executive Secretary one year’s notice in writing.”