The development follows a recently exposed biased recruiting process at the ECOWAS parliament that was clearly skewed to exclude Nigeria in favor of other member states.
High-ranking officers in the regional bloc allegedly disobeyed orders and began engaging in the illegal practice of recruiting their relatives and allies.
Nigerian officials stated that if the Western African regional bloc does not halt the existing recruiting process as recently ordered at the 2022 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, the most populous African country will walk away.
In addition, Nigerian officials cited Nigeria's significant financial contributions to the organization despite its internal security issues and claimed there was no equivalent return on investment for Nigeria in ECOWAS for all that the nation had done and continues to do for the region since the organization's founding in 1975.
The head of the Nigerian delegation and first deputy speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament as well as the deputy speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, announced that Nigeria must now critically assess its membership in the organization and its value.
"If you are part of a system and are not seeing the intended results from your investments, it is best to exit the union." When we have a lack of infrastructure and security challenges, why should we keep investing our money in places that won't help our nation? "
He added, "If this doesn't produce the intended result, we will withdraw. We demand justice. Not just for Nigerians, but for the entire ECOWAS region. That is what the lawmakers are asking for. We won't let a small group of countries control ECOWAS like a cabal. "
The alleged nepotistic hiring dispute that is roiling ECOWAS was addressed in a letter from Musa Nuhu, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, to Sidie Mohamed Tunis, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.
In the letter, Nuhu stated that "The issues border around stagnation and overlooking of people currently working in the parliament in favor of outsiders."
This action directly contradicts both the Council of Ministers' position and the recommendations made at the 30th meeting of the ECOWAS Administrative and Finance Committee, which directed that internal candidates should be given preference when filling open positions in ECOWAS institutions, as suggested in the Staff Skills Audit Report.
Nuhu added, "We have employees of Nigerian descent who may have performed better or advanced more quickly in their careers if they had worked in the Nigerian civil service's bureaucracy. They have been stagnant for years in ECOWAS institutions while their colleagues and contemporaries in the Nigerian civil service are now directors or even permanent secretaries”
He added “Since they work as temporary employees, they are not promoted. These employees cannot be forced to work at the same level for more than ten years. They were employed as casual employees by ECOWAS and retained that status for that amount of time”
Nuhu claims that this violates the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention on Forced Labor.