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ECOWAS Parliament suspends recruitment over audit report concerns

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has suspended all recruitment, conversion, and promotion in the parliament temporarily owing to some concerns over its audit report.

First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Idris Wase, while presiding over the closing of its 2022 First Ordinary Session on Monday in Abuja ruled in favour of the motion for suspension of all exercises.

The motion to suspend the recruitment and promotion in the parliament was moved by Hon. Awajim Abiante, a Nigerian lawmaker at the ECOWAS Parliament and was seconded by Sen. Biodun Olujimi, also a Nigerian Lawmaker at the parliament.

Hon. Yousoufa Bida supported the motion which the house concurrently agreed to.

Wase, however, said that for the sake of equity and fairness, the process should be suspended while the bureau carried out a speedy investigation of the audit report so that community citizens would not suffer unjustly.

“I want to believe that all of us that are here are holding these positions based on trust and we are not going to betray that trust, your confidence.

“When I mentioned that we are going to go into that report, of course, the other citizens out there are also our citizens and we will not like them to suffer unjustly because of one little problem or the other.

“So the first thing I will beg is that you allow the bureau to consider, look into the report of the audit and any other matter that has been raised regarding the recruitment exercise.

“And this we will have to do with all sense of diligence and integrity to ensure that the right thing is done within the shortest period of time.

“I will believe that of your very own exalted office that you are here and on behalf of you that the motion is in order but that you allow the bureau to look into it.

“So that we do not unnecessarily delay the process and then report back to plenary at the next sitting,” Wase said.

Earlier, Abiante, while moving the motion said, “I as Awaji-Inobek Abiante a lawmaker from Nigeria, wish to move that all processes, actions, and activities, aimed and geared towards the recruitment, promotion, conversion, interview, and any other related matter be suspended.

“(This should be done) until all issues that have been raised, all petitions that have been brought forth, all protests, all misgivings are comprehensively resolved and the parliament is so briefed.

“I am bringing this up because I have further information that letters have already been served in this regard and if parliament does not intervene, we might be chasing shadows at the end of the day.

“It might be that these processes have been concluded and they will just report to us. That is my position and I so move.”

Olujimi who seconded the motion gave more insight into the situation in an interview with journalists at the end of the session, said the suspension of the exercises was in the interest of community citizens.

“We found out that there was an audit report that should have allowed people who have been within the administrative cadre to move up so that there will be spaces down the row.

“We found that it had not been adopted and nothing was done about it and people were jittery. There is no doubt that everyone was jittery.

“You could cause despondency and a decline in the workforce if you do not allow people to grow properly within the system.

“So we thought that now that another recruitment was being undertaken, we felt that there was a need to look at that audit report, situate it properly, and move the people that should be moved before anything else could continue.

“And the leadership was gracious enough to agree that the bureau will sit and look into it so that everybody will be in their rightful positions.

“It is a community. These are citizens and there is a need to make everybody comfortable in whatever they are doing,” Olujimi said.

Bida also appealed that the issue is looked into critically, saying that the suspension was the decision of the parliament and was not targeted at any individual.

“An issue was raised that there is an audit report. Can we have the audit report so that while waiting to have it, let everything be suspended so that we can look at it.

“It is not personal; it is the position of the parliament. We have reached a conclusion and we are coming back to it. Meaning it is a very serious issue and we have to be very careful.

“When you listen to colleagues, you can see that people are speaking in terms of referral from the population.

“I want us to be very careful; let the plenary suspend the procedure even if it is by mail. Let us have the audit report so that we can look at it. If there is no problem we can ask it to continue,” Bida said.

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