The Nigeria Labour Congress received the news of the death of the President of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, SADR, President Mahamed Abdelaziz with
shock as it is an obvious devastating blow to the struggle for the independence of the people of Western Sahara who have been under oppression and colonial shackles by the Moroccan authorities, the last colonialists in the continent of Africa.
Mr. Abdelaziz died after an illness in the United States on the morning of 31st May 2016.
We recall meeting the Saharawi President in 2014 when he paid a state visit to Nigeria and was at the Headquarters of the NLC to commission the offices of the National Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara, which is hosted by the NLC and located at our National Headquarters.
On that occasion, we saw in him a highly committed, politically conscious, amiable and focused leader radiating determination and confidence in the victory of his people over those who have emasculated their freedom for decades.
President Abdelaziz, who was a founding member of the Polisario Front, the movement that was formed in 1973 by the people of Western Sahara to fight for their independence was also the organisation’s third Secretary General as well as head of a battalion and later chief of the military district of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, SADR.
Under the leadership of Abdelaziz, the struggles of the Saharawi caught overwhelming global attention, especially at the United Nations which brokered a ceasefire in 1991. This is in addition to ensuring that his country, Western Sahara became a founding member of the African Union.
The struggles of the Saharawi was effectively internationalised and did not only gain diplomatic recognition across all continents but also sat at major international conferences and meetings attended by world leaders. Indeed, Western Sahara became popularly known as a State within a State fighting vigorously for her own independence under Abdelaziz.
His place in history is large and we believe despite his unfortunate demise, the Saharawi people will be victorious in a short time as we believe his death will not daunt their collective commitment to the struggle.
We recommit ourselves to this struggle as we will continue to offer our solidarity in all forms within our capabilities and capacity to ensure the victory of the Saharawi people from the claws of those who still believe colonialism can survive the compelling freedom and progress the independence of Western Sahara offers humanity.
The Moroccan authorities have no right whatsoever to undermine the sovereignty of the Saharawi people. All governments, especially members of the African Union should as a matter of urgency cut all links with Morocco until they hands off all that belongs to the Saharawi people.
We commiserate with the government and people of Western Sahara and reassure them of our continued support and solidarity at all times.