Some Nigerian NGO’s including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have warned Africa’s richest businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to stop his planned investment deal with Morocco or face resistance from the labour movement.
Dangote had recently told a business forum in Lagos that his company was close to signing a deal with a Moroccan firm to supply phosphate to feed a planned fertilizer plant.
Morocco has been under searchlight over the continued colonisation and subjugation of the people of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) also known as Western Sahara.
Speaking in Abuja on Saturday during the inauguration of National Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara, the NLC President, Dr. Ayuba Wabba warned that such plan would be resisted the labour movement.
The event where a civil rights activist and President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, McMalachy Ugwumadu, was inaugurated the Legal Adviser, NMLWS, was spearheaded by the NLC, ASUU and a coalition of over 200 civil society organisations.
Wabba, who described Dangote’s planned business deal with Morocco as an affront on the rights of the people of Western Sahara to self- determination, expressed the determination of the NLC and it allies to stop the deal.
The NLC boss expressed shock at the business mogul’s planned business prospect with Morocco, especially at a time international outcry for economic sanctions against the Moroccan’s government was at its ascendancy.
He said,”An injury to one is an injury to all. We heard that Dangote is planning business prospect with Morocco. We are ready to bring the full weight of the people to stop such business deal. We call on Dangote to respect the self-determination efforts of Saharawi people.
While decrying the deplorable conditions of the Saharawis, the NLC boss expressed the commitment of the congress, in conjunction with civil society organisations, to the total liberation of the Saharawi people.
The President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Isah Fagge, also warned Nigerian businessmen to stop their investments in Morocco, for the time being.
He said, “In all of this, ASUU’s position is that no effort must be spared to set Western Sahara free from Moroccan captivity. We therefore call on all and sundry to give the Nigerian Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara all the support it requires in achieving its core objectives. For now, every business interest in Morocco by any Nigerian should stop.
“We must all remain united in this historical mission to set Western Sahara free. For, it is only in the freedoms of the Saharawi people that the freedom of every Nigerian, nay African, can be meaningful and defensible. So, the struggle continues.”
In his keynote address, the Chairman, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, called on African leaders to put pressure on the members of the United Nations’ Security Council to support the process of decolonization of Western Sahara.
While calling for collective efforts to liberate the suffering Saharawis, the former external affairs minister, however, insisted the UN could not be entirely relied upon, adding that only Africans could resolve it.
He stated,”As we now live in a world where the relentless forces of globalization and the threats to national, regional, and global security are growing on a daily basis, a threat to peace and security anywhere should be seen as a threat to peace everywhere and thus demanding collective response.
“The continued denial of the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Saharawi people constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
In his own address, the convener of the Committee for the Liberation of Western Sahara, Dr. Oladipo Fashina noted that goal of raising a mass movement was to join the army of international movement for the termination of colonialism n Africa.
As part of the moves to force the Moroccan government to respect the sovereignty of the SADR, the former ASUU President called for the economic, political and social isolation of Morocco as it was the case with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
While lamenting the level of economic subjugation the Saharawis has been subjected to, Fashina stated,”The situation is a bit confusing because the Moroccan government has been fraudulently passing off products from Western Sahara as Moroccan. The bulk of canned fish by various names, sold in Nigeria today, is packaged in Western Sahara, yet they are labelled “products of Morocco.”.
“The phosphate which Morocco mines in Western Sahara is claimed to be a prod it of Morocco as well. As an occupied territory, Western Sahara is entitled to its own identity not that of another country, no matter what the claims of ancient fiefdom may be.
“For these reasons, we urge the forces of freedom all over the world to back their claim of solidarity with the Saharawi people with a commitment to driving Morocco out of Western Sahara.”
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