C O M M U N I Q U E
The Nigerian Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara (NMLWS), made up of Nigerians from various spheres of life, met in Abuja to deliberate on sundry issues concerning the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, and the serious implications of the latter’s attempt to obtain membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The NMLWS wishes to state that:
- Given the unpalatable experience of the Arab Mahgreb Union (AMU) the Regional Economic Commission that Morocco belongs to, admitting the Kingdom into ECOWAS will be disruptive and will derail the progressive journey of ECOWAS towards regional integration and unity.
- Apart from the illogic of a country on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa applying to join the West African Region, Morocco’s activities will negate the enormous sacrifices Nigeria has made in nurturing and building ECOWAS. Therefore, it is in the particular interest of Nigeria, and the overall interest of ECOWAS to reject Morocco’s membership.
- The continuous exploitation of Western Sahara resources, particularly its fishes and phosphate, must be stopped by the international community. In this connection, we commend the European Union Court, Panama and South Africa for questioning this theft of a peoples’ resources by their neighbors. We urge Nigeria to join countries which are refusing to join Morocco in the illegal mining of Western Sahara phosphate and advise the Dangote Group, which is collaborating with Morocco in the trade of Western Sahara phosphate, to withdraw from this illegal business.
- The United Nations, which has mediated in the Western Sahara conflict with Morocco, has a duty to protect the fundamental human rights of the Saharawi, who are being repressed, denied their right to movement and are being deported from their homes, as was the case with Ms. Aminatu Haidar who Morocco deported to the Spanish-controlled Canary Islands. In particular, we call on the UN and the international community to halt the seven-year trial of twenty five Saharawis who were arrested following a peaceful demonstration against Morocco. These political prisoners should be released immediately and unconditionally.
- It is unacceptable that Morocco would continue to occupy a sister African country, and for over four decades, abort all attempts by the United Nations to conduct independence referendum on Western Sahara.
- We reaffirm that independence of Western Sahara is the only just solution to the question of Western Sahara.
- We reiterate our unflinching solidarity with the people of Western Sahara in the struggle to end colonial subjugation in Africa.
- The Nigerian people having played a leading role in anti- colonial struggles in Africa, the government of Nigeria has the duty to support the Saharawi struggle for independence. To sacrifice the cause of African independence for the sake of phosphate will be a huge historical betrayal of Africa.
- We salute the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) for its principled rejection of Morocco’s agenda to destabilize ECOWAS and use it as a platform to work against Saharawi independence.
Following from the above, the NMLWS resolves to take concrete legal and other actions against Morocco and its collaborators, in furtherance of the NMLWS campaign to ensure justice in Africa and end colonial rule in the continent.
Pr Dipo Fashina,
(For and on behalf of the NMLWS)