May 10, 2018 8:10 pm|
The Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament) Moustapha Cisse Lo and the Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Yusuf Suleiman Lasun have stated differing positions over Morocco’s application to join the sub-regional bloc.
Cisse Lo made his position known while briefing reporters after the opening of 2018 ECOWAS Parliament First Ordinary Session even as he supports Morocco’s application to become a full member of ECOWAS, stressing that all parties will benefit from it.
Morocco’s application to join the 15-Member ECOWAS is met with severe opposition by some countries and citizens of the sub region, who argue that the North African country should not be admitted to the regional bloc because it does not share borders with West Africa.
The Moroccan parliament was represented at the opening session by two deputy speakers Rachid EL Abdi and Amina Maelainine. ECOWAS is yet to take a final decision on the issue of Morocco’s membership.
However, Cisse Lo explained that all parties would benefit from Morocco’s ECOWAS membership saying, “I do not agree that we should not involve Morocco in what we are doing because some people are saying they are very much ahead. I’m of the opinion that we should cooperate with them because doing that, we are all going to win.”
Speaker Cisse Lo said the ECOWAS Parliament enjoys excellent ties of friendship and cooperation with Morocco’s House of Representatives adding that both parliaments had signed an agreement on capacity building for staff and the parliamentarians.
“Parliamentary diplomacy is part of our mission. That is the reason we are in discussion with countries that are outside of ECOWAS. We want Africa to be united and prosperous and you cannot but work with neighbouring countries and others. That is the case of morocco,” he said.
But reacting to the issue Lasun, called for caution over the economic implication of Morocco’s membership. He said “any government that refuses to think about the economic aspect of life, that country is doomed.”
“Morocco is still observing the observer status so they are not yet part of the ECOWAS. As at the last report, the Authority of the Heads of Government of ECOWAS has set up a committee, reviewing the possible inclusion of Morocco into the ECOWAS.
“So, they are not part, they are only observing, and of course it is done like that all over the world. We all go to other parliamentary unions as observers,” Lasun said.
On the prospects of Morocco being accepted into ECOWAS, Lasun said “it is probably going to take a long time before such a feat can be achieved.”
Innocent Odoh, Abuja
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