Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:22 pm
The Nigeria Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara (NMLWS), has urged Nigerian Government to oppose move by Morocco to join the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
A statement by the Convener of NMLWS, Mr Dipo Fashina on Thursday in Abuja, said that Morocco was not classified as member state of ECOWAS by the United Nations and African Union.
“The Kingdom is a member of Arab Maghreb Union States together with Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia.
“Morocco’s move to join the ECOWAS is a deliberate ploy to whittle down the influence and strength of Nigeria for her role in the body.
“There is no accession clause in the ECOWAS Treaty. To that, the planned admission to ECOWAS cannot be justified under the Revised Treaty of the ECOWAS.’’
Accoring to Fashina, in line with the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, member states of ECOWAS are under democratically elected governments, whereas Morocco is a monarchical state.
He said the opposition of Nigeria to the European – ECOWAS Partnership Agreement would be frustrated by Morocco as Nigeria would be influx of goods from Europe.
Fashina said that ECOWAS “is for states in the West African sub-region and in this regard, the revised treaty defined the region as the geographical zone known as West Africa as defined by Resolution CM/Res.464 (XXVI) of the OAU Council of Ministers’’.
He said the struggle of the people of Western Sahara for independence, being championed by Nigeria would be seriously challenged by Morocco.
According to him, all member states of ECOWAS have subscribed to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which has recognised the human rights of African people to independence and right to self-determination.
He said that Morocco had refused to recognise the right of people of Western Sahara to self-determination.
The convener recalled that it was Nigeria that championed the admission of Western Sahara by the defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1984, which led Morocco to withdraw from the continental body.
“But due to the lackadaisical attitude of Nigeria, the admission of Morocco by the African Union scaled through without opposition even though the Kingdom has continued to occupy the territory of Western Sahara.
“The same speed is being adopted by Morocco in pursuing its moves to join the ECOWAS,
unlike its membership of the African Union. The move by Morocco to join the ECOWAS is a direct challenge to the leadership of Nigeria in the sub region.’’
He, however, called on Nigeria to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the application of Morocco for membership is rejected.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on June 5, ECOWAS had given its agreement in principle to Morocco’s request to join the regional grouping.
This was highlighted in the final communiqué of the 51st Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government.