President Muhammadu Buhari has reinstated the commitment of the Federal Government to the liberation of Western Sahara from Morocco.
The President, who spoke through Ambassador Kabiru Akau, at the inauguration of the Nigeria Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara , said it was inhuman for Morocco to continue to exploit a fellow African country.
Buhari noted how Nigeria, during his tenure as military Head of State, sponsored the admission of Western Sahara into the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU).
The President regretted that years after the United Nations (UN) ordered a referendum for the Saharawi people to determine their future, Morocco frustrated moves on the referendum and continued to exploit the resources of the people.
He said it was time for Africans and lovers of freedom to stand up and speak against the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco.
The President called for stiffer sanctions on Morocco, if they continued to deny the Saharawi self-independence.
In a keynote address, ex-Nigeria Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, accused the world body of paying lip-service to the liberation of Western Sahara.
He said the UN had not done much to ensure that its resolution on Western Sahara were carried out, adding that the world body was unable to get its Security Council to endorse its resolution on Western Sahara.
Gambari said it was regrettable that 45 years after the UN agenda, Western Sahara’s decolonisation was still incomplete and the Saharawi were still denied their basic and legitimate right to decide their future.
He said: “UN’s role in the Western Sahara has not produced results. This sad situation was reconfirmed a week ago during Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Rabouni after meeting the Polisario Front Secretary General, Mohammed Abdelaziz.
“Ki-Moon admitted that the parties in the Western Saharan conflict have not made any real progress in the negotiation towards a just, lasting and mutually-acceptable political solution.
“Indeed, 45 years after the UN agenda, it is regrettable that Western Sahara’s decolonisation is still incomplete and that the Saharawi are still denied their basic and legitimate rights to decide their future.”
NLC President Ayuba Wabba said through collective efforts and action, organised labour and its civil society allies have played a key role in the independence of many nations.
He said the struggle for the liberation of Western Sahara was in conformity with the belief that injury to one worker is injury to all.
Convener of the Movement and ex-President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Dr. Oladipo Fashina said it was regrettable that Morrocco, a former colonial territory of France and Spain, could turn around and colonise a sister country at a time colonialism were disappearing globally.
ASUU President Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge announced that the union would sponsor three students from Western Sahara for their postgraduate studies in Nigerian universities.