By Umar Muhammad Puma
Legal and foreign policy experts yesterday told the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations that allowing the kingdom of Morocco to join the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) will spell doom for the socio-political and economic well-being of Nigeria.
The foreign policy expertd advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to quickly checkmate such an entry as it will speed up disintegration of the Nigerian state as presently constituted.
Speaking at a one day public hearing on the Review of Nigeria’s Membership of ECOWAS In view of Morocco’s bid to be admitted Into the regional body, the experts and retired career diplomats who spoke were all unanimous in their advice, saying that Nigeria as a matter of regional and national interest block Morocco’s Bid.
Former Director General, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Bola Akinterinwa , in his presentation to the Committee led by Rep Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje said, “any attempt to allow Morocco to join the regional body will disintegrate Nigeria.
Akinterinwa argued that there are 12 reasons why Nigeria must checkmate Morocco from joining, saying that “it’s one of the most corrupt nations in the world going by the recent corruption index account”.
“Morocco has been compelled to seek alternative future elsewhere because the Arab Magreb Union which has been completely bastardised by Morocco has not held a summit since 2008.
“Why, because Morocco is a law breaker, both regionally and otherwise.
“Take for instance, the issue of Western Sahara which many countries including the United Nations have said Morocco should hands off, but it has been populating the place with a view to taking it over in future”, he argued.
“All the member states of ECOWAS have republican government but Morocco operates a monarchical system of government with no democracy.
“Another reason is that the European Union is using Morocco to achieve a direct access into Nigerian market because they couldn’t get Nigeria to sign the Economic Partnership for Africa (EPA) that would have allowed that. Because the primary target of the EPA in west Africa is Nigeria”, he said.
Speaking earlier, a representative of the Director General, NIIA, Prof Fred Agwu said “he who pays the piper dictates the tunes, Nigeria can block Morocco from ECOWAS either legally or politically using the 1975 treaty or the 1993 revised treaty which do not give room for accension”.
Activist lawyer, Femi Falana in his submission, told the lawmakers that “any attempt to allow the North African country to join ECOWAS will subvert Nigeria’s Economic prosperity.
On his part, the National Vice President of Association of Retired Ambassadors of Nigeria, ARCAN, Ambassador John Shinkaye, advised the Federal Government to effectively checkmate Morocco now as its membership will spell doom for Nigeria.