By Linda Ike
The Ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the allegations of malpractice and unfair recruitment process of the ECOWAS Parliament has expressed its infuriation in the process and arising issues in the Parliament.
Recall that the issue was brought to the floor of the Parliament’s First Ordinary Session that was held in Abuja in June 2022, which led to the establishment of an Ad-hoc committee saddled with the responsibility of investigating allegations of malpractice in the ongoing recruitment process at the ECOWAS Parliament with these terms of Reference; To “Investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct in the ongoing recruitment process at the ECOWAS Parliament;
“Investigate allegations of marginalization 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;
“In the execution of its mandate, the Committee shall 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 work of the Ad-Hoc Committee was expected to commence on 22nd August 2022 and its findings are expected to be reported to the Honorable Speaker in one week, following which a Bureau meeting will be convened to consider the report for onward submission to the Plenary.
Speaking on the issues, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Senator Ali Ndume from Nigeria disclosed that despite the halt in the recruitment process pending the recommendation of the Committee, some new staff have just been recruited to the Parliament.
He said, ” Mr. Speaker how can I be a committee Chairman, my report is yet to be presented to the house, Investigations were still ongoing, what we were fighting against and still preparing a report, I received a memo a few days ago that some people were employed.
“This is an abuse and a gross disrespect to the committee and me as a person, the clerk of the committee is here, he can also attest to that.
“Mr. Speaker, I wish to state that with what has happened I can no longer continue as the chairman of the committee but to tender my resignation now, we cannot be working on something while it is already being implemented, this is a slap on my face as a ranking Lawmaker.
“However, my committee will present our reports, findings, and recommendation to the Parliament during the Extra-ordinary Session”.
Similarly, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante (Nigeria), also lamented that the Leadership of the Parliament has a lot to do,
He said, “A Parliament that donates her responsibilities and powers to others can never be classified as a true Parliament, and this is an example of what happens to a Parliament that has to donate all her powers outside, they tend to use all opportunities that they have for their brothers and their sisters,
a classical example, Parliament resolved that everything that has to do with recruitment should be suspended until Audit has been looked at, people went aside and they were having an interview for people, and somebody was telling me that was not an adopted resolution, the man who is supposed to guide Parliament is saying it is not an adopted resolution, what type of Parliament does that, we have a self-inflicted in this Parliament” .
Contributing, Hon. Jonathan Kaipay of Liberia said, “It is surprising that you as Speaker will put a freeze to an employment process and people are being employed, I think we need to look at things again”.