By Favour Nnabugwu
The speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has ordered the immediate suspension of staff recruitment and set up a panel to investigate alleged malpractices in the recruitment process.
Dr. Tunis gave the directive in a statement by the parliament’s communications division, suspending the process following allegations by the Nigerian delegation at the parliament that the country’s candidates were marginalised in the recruitment.
The Nigerian representation to the bloc had threatened to withdraw its membership as its citizens were margininalised at the parliament in employment and promotions.
The speaker had received written complaints from the First Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, and Nigeria’s permanent representative to the ECOWAS Commission, Musa Sani Nuhu.
According to the statement, the work of the eight-man independent ad hoc investigation committee will start this month, with its findings expected within a week.
It added that a bureau meeting would be convened immediately to consider the report for onward submission to the plenary.
The Ad hoc Committee is headed by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Chairman of the Committee on Administration, Finance, and Budget of the regional parliament.
Other committee members include Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu from Nigeria, Fatoumatta Njai from the Gambia, Amadou Djibo Ali from Niger, Kounon Nahou Agbandao from Togo, Caramo Camara from Guinea Bissau, Moussokora Chantal Fanny from Cote d’ Ivoire and Arboncana Oumarou Dicko.
“The terms of reference of the ad hoc committee shall be as follows: investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct in the ongoing recruitment process at the ECOWAS Parliament; investigate allegations of marginalisation of Nigerian candidates in the current recruitment process; investigate and determine if indeed the plenary adopted any resolution concerning the subject matter (recruitment of staff), using normal parliamentary procedure,” the statement added.
It stressed that in executing its mandate, the committee should be granted access to all documents relating to the recruitment exercise and work with the Advisory Committee on Recruitment and Promotions at the ECOWAS Parliament to under-study and review the exercise.
“The ad hoc committee would be guided by the provisions of the Supplementary Act and the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” the institution said.
The leadership of the parliament said it was committed to upholding and protecting the rights of all citizens of the ECOWAS to aspire to positions in any ECOWAS institution, in line with the provisions of the group’s staff regulations and all related protocols.