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Abuja Threatens to Leave Ecowas

Lawmakers who represent Nigeria at the Economic Community of West African States’s (Ecowas) parliament picked a fight with the bloc over what they described as an unfair recruitment exercise that did not include Nigerians, leaning into the grievance to question the value Nigeria actually gets from belonging to the bloc. It would be a minor administrative issue were it not for Nigeria’s crucial importance to the foundation and existence of the union, previewing issues that could arise as the much vaunted Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)—one of the world’s largest trade agreements—struggles to fully take off. Ecowas officials in charge of recruitment have refuted allegations of wrongdoing, insisting the exercise has been “very competitive and cannot short-change any country let alone Nigeria that has made invaluable contributions to the development of the community.” That said, the contentious recruitment appears to have been suspended with an investigation launched to appease Nigeria, an outcome that shows the unshaken power of the region’s largest economy within its strongest sphere of influence.