By Chimezie Godfrey
The Nigerian Labour Congress has called for the immediate end of hostility against the people of Western Sahara.
The Acting President, NLC, Comrade Nasir Idris made the call in a statement issued on Saturday and made available to Newsdiaryonline.
Comrade Idris noted that it has been a week of harvests of war in the mother continent.
According to him, firstly it was the breakout of an all-out war in Ethiopia. Right now, a major military confrontation has broken out between the armed forces of Morocco and the POLISARIO Liberation Front of the Western Sahara.
He pointed out that the tense relations between Morocco and Western Sahara has gone on for decades, arguably fitting into the label of “Africa’s longest conflict”.
According to him, the conflict has endured for this long because Morocco has refused to honour an advisory by the International Court of Justice delivered on October 16, 1975 refuting any claims that Morocco has on Western Sahara.
The acting NLC boss disclosed that the Kingdom of Morocco has also rebuffed the African Union Declaration of Acceptance of Western Sahara as a fully independent African country deserving of all privileges of sovereignty including unfettered access to the minerals located in its jurisdiction.
He stressed that the current armed conflict and open war between the Moroccan defense forces was triggered by claims by Morocco that its forces had to enter into the El Guerguerat buffer zones to clear Western Sahara protesters who they claimed had blocked a major highway in the area.
He said,”Well, it is difficult to imagine how a highway in a supposed buffer zone would lead to an armed confrontation.
“There is certainly more to this than meets the eyes. This could actually be another distraction to the criminal exploitation and expropriation of the mineral wealth of the Western Sahara people by Moroccan army of occupation.
“This should be condemned by all nations of conscience and people of goodwill.
“In light of the great humanitarian distress and disaster that the current war portends for the people of Western Sahara who were already living by the fringes of survival before the latest conflict, the Nigeria Labour Congress calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“Moroccan Defense Forces should pull out of the disputed and buffer zones in order to give peace a chance.
“We call on the United Nations Security Council to immediately declare a ceasefire in Western Sahara which should be enforced by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).”
The NLC also called on the African Union to issue a strongly worded statement calling for the cessation of hostilities as Africa cannot afford two major armed conflicts and all out wars at the same time especially in this season of the resurgence of COVID-19 the world over.
“In order to bring lasting peace, respite and succor to the long-suffering people of Western Saharawi, we call on the Moroccan government to respect the Resolution 1514 of the United Nations on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples issued since December 14, 1960 and allow for a referendum as scheduled by the United Nations twenty-eight years ago.
“We also call on the United Nations to appoint a Special Envoy to Western Sahara in order to facilitate the holding of the much-delayed referendum which should confirm the status of Western Sahara as an Independent county or part of Morocco.
“In the event of Morocco refusing to thread the path of remorse and rectitude, we call on all African countries to engage the subjugation and occupation of Western Sahara the same way Apartheid South Africa was engaged.
“Now is the time to stamp out the last colonial outpost in the African continent. Slavery anywhere remains a threat to freedom and liberty everywhere. Injury to one remains injury to all,” Comrade Idris stressed.