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By Charles Ebube – Abuja

This article has become necessary as a verifiable whistle blowing public service account to guide the administration of The President of Nigeria on part of the area to focus on with regards to ECOWAS affairs, while congratulating him on his appointment as the Chairman of the Authorities of Head of States of ECOWAS.

It is no longer news that Nigeria as a founding member of ECOWAS shoulders the highest financial responsibility of ECOWAS by contributing over 60% of the running cost of ECOWAS budget and also playing a big brother role to the other members in other laudable projects but can we say that like the other international organisation, Nigeria gets commensurate benefits in return for her citizens in terms of employment and other opportunities? The answer is No.

Over sometime and particularly in the past two years, it will interest Nigeria Government to know that her citizens have been marginalized in employment opportunities in ECOWAS institution generally and particularly at the Managerial level while Nigeria representatives to ECOWAS and statutory appointees in the institutions watch on without showing any concern or in some cases complicit so long as they get what they need to satisfy their personal interest.

I will briefly and randomly take a case study of a few institutions of ECOWAS that are situated in Nigeria to buttress my argument and also appeal to The President of the Senate, The Speaker of the House of Representative, The Secretary to the Government of Nigeria and The Chief of Staff to draw the attention of Mr. President to the great injustice been meted out to Nigerians in the employment quota of ECOWAS in which we have been greatly marginalized and the trend is getting worse by the day.

Virtually and mostly all employment recruitment done in the ECOWAS institutions situated in Nigeria for the past two years and still ongoing till date are seriously compromised, not based on merit but the recruitments are conducted based on nepotism dependent on who the senior management and or Head of institutions wish to bring on board, sometimes without going through the interview competitive process.

It may interest you to know that there are volume of petitions in the past two years before the ECOWAS commission written mostly by qualified Nigerians who are been shortchanged and denied opportunities for the position they are well qualified to hold; as those vacancy are been taken away from them because those in decision making are bringing in their less qualified relations on board.

To worsen the situation is the fact that while all petitions complaining about employment irregularities are awaiting attention of the ECOWAS commission till date, the concerned head of institutions circumvents the system in conjunction with their cabals to issue letter of appointment to their countrymen. Cases abound and are verifiable at the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Parliament and ECOWAS Court respectively.

There is a case of a Nigerian at the ECOWAS parliament amongst many others who was denied a managerial position he is well qualify to hold; as an internal candidate who has been in that department for years for a favoured external candidate of the Head of the institution who is less qualified.

The petition on that case still lies unattended to at the ECOWAS commission till date. Similar situation to the above also happened in the ECOWAS commission where another Nigerian was denied a managerial position and the petition I doubt have not seen the light of the day till date for the review of the process.

Likewise at the ECOWAS Court of Justice where many Nigerian promotions have been denied or stagnated for years and a Nigerian who performed brilliantly in an interview for a managerial position was denied the appointment, while a petition awaits consideration at the ECOWAS commission till date for the review of the flawed process of recruitment, the ECOWAS Court head of institution and President circumvents the system, issued a letter of appointment to his country man from Ghana who we gathered got 5th position in the same interview behind the Nigerian and less experienced in the position compared to the sidelined Nigeria citizen.

The management structure in most of the ECOWAS institutions located in Nigeria today places Nigerians in a very disadvantageous situation as we lack representation in decision making body for employment for our people. In the ECOWAS Parliament and the ECOWAS Commission for example, we are underrepresented in the senior management quota compared to our 60% financial contribution from community tax levies and other sources of funds we remit yearly in support of ECOWAS.

The ECOWAS Court is worse off as at now, there is no single Nigeria citizen in the senior management position, in fact the only Nigeria person in management position is the Court Accountant and this trend of marginalization has enabled the Court management to sideline Nigerians in employment opportunity, promotions, and appointment to managerial and other positions in the past two years or more.

In a related case, the Nigerian Judge in collusion with the Ghanaian President of ECOWAS Court, for personal vendetta we gathered, stopped a Nigerian Executive Assistant from coming to work without the mandatory due process of one month notice from October last year till date. Our investigation further reveals that the Nigerian in question has also been denied his lawfully earned pension or severance payment for the completed first four years contract, which is been withheld for no just cause from December till date while his other colleagues from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone have been paid the same entitlement.

Sequel to the above stated, despite the plea and officially using the internal mechanisms of writing to the ECOWAS Commissioner of internal Affairs, the President of ECOWAS Commission, The Administration and Finance Council of ECOWAS, the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS and the Chairman Council of Ministers of ECOWAS, we can confirm that the President of the Court of ECOWAS has refused to pay the Nigeria citizen in question his entitlement for Eighth months now, for no official reason but for abuse of power based on personal vendetta as at the time of writing this report.

The above situation is not only sad but ironic, portrays Judicial rascality, hypocrisy, wickedness and violation of human rights of a Nigerian by some Judges of ECOWAS Court; who hypocritically sits and delivers judgment on violation of human rights cases from the ECOWAS region, while at the same time violating the human rights of their own professional employees for speaking the truth to authorities, refusing to be compromised to take part or allow the high level of corruption cases arising from phantom projects been used to divert tax payers funds allegedly taking place at the ECOWAS Court by the management.

It is our hope that the Nigeria government will be able to address this abuse of power and rescue her citizens from this denial of entitlement been sponsored with the use of Nigerian tax payers money against Nigerians and not the personal money of the ECOWAS Judges involve in this wickedness of man to another man for no just cause. Nigeria citizens have indeed been subjected to modern slavery in employment quota more at the ECOWAS Court than other institutions of ECOWAS which ought not to be expected from a Court that prides herself as a Court of human rights in the ECOWAS region.

We appeal to the Government of Nigeria to rise up to the occasion by launching full scale investigation into all this allegations to ensure that the rights of all Nigeria citizens are protected and the correct employment quota are given to Nigeria in commensurate to their financial contribution from tax payers money to ECOWAS community.

We are using this medium to appeal to the New ECOWAS Chairman and Nigeria government to look into this issue as it is morally wrong for Nigeria to shoulder over 60% of ECOWAS budget and yet her citizens are not given employment opportunities that is commensurate with our financial contribution as is the practice in all other international organisation.

Perhaps to confirm the veracity of this claim, the Nigeria government should send investigators to the institutions, have a parliamentary open session on the matter or and better still open an office for Nigerians who are victims to file their complaints and petitions to the designated office, independent from the Office of the Nigerian representatives and statutory appointees in ECOWAS for obvious reasons and allegations of been complicit in joining other cabals to deny other fellow Nigerian of their lawful employment and entitlements. For this purpose, an office in the ministry of foreign affairs may serve the purpose of collecting petitions and addressing the issues after collating the data.

In addition, the Government may also need to review the appointments of the current Nigerian statutory appointees and representative to ECOWAS in line with the change of guard going on in the new government; as the performances of those current appointees and representatives to ECOWAS does not seem to be beneficial to the Citizens of Nigeria who needs their services, loyalty and allegiance to the country.

Once again while congratulating the President of Nigeria on his appointment as the Chairman of ECOWAS, we need to draw his attention to the immediate need of Nigeria citizens in the ECOWAS institutions and other Nigerians at large who should be given a fair representation in the employment quota that is commensurate to our financial contribution and input to ECOWAS goals and objectives.

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