The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has appealed to the Federal Government and the National Assembly not to vote for the admission of Morocco into Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa, OTUWA, Workshop held in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation, ILO.
The Kingdom of Morocco had applied to join the ECOWAS.
The application is currently being considered by the member states and the relevant council of ECOWAS.
The theme of the two-day workshop is “Rebuilding and Consolidating OTUWA and the Challenges of Implementing its 5years Strategic Plan’’.
Mr. Wabba said; “We can’t find a clause permitting a geographically non-West African State to become a member of the organisation.
“Our concern in the NLC is that Morocco has a record of quarrelling with its neighbours and even the entire continent.
“That’s why it stayed away from the Organisation of African Union (OAU), later AU, for over 30 years.
“Similarly, we cannot be hobnobbing with a monarchy which is against the wish of the international community, the UN and the AU.
“To be specific, Morocco has continued to illegally occupy Western Sahara, and is holding it as a colony.”
He also called on OTUWA member countries to appeal to their governments and national legislatures not to endorse the application of Morocco as a member of ECOWAS.
Mr. Wabba while speaking on the theme said it was apt to assess how far the organisation had gone on the journey.
“I am sure our comrades and colleagues might express concerns that we have not yet obtained the necessary diplomatic status for OTUWA since the office became operational in Nigeria.
“I am aware that the OTUWA secretariat had submitted the application about a year or so ago after the OTUWA leadership had visited the relevant ministries.
“The process of obtaining the required approval has been hindered by governmental procedure and processes.
“I want to assure you all that we shall follow-up on the pending application with the Minister of Labour and his other colleagues to ensure that this matter is put behind us. ‘’
However, the NLC president expressed condolence to the Sierra Leone people over the recent mudslide that claimed many lives, adding that the congress would support the call for solidarity assistance.
Declaring open the two-day workshop, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, called on the trade unions to ensure that their unions embrace social dialogue.
Mr. Ngige said that social dialogue was imperative as it encouraged peace and harmony in the various sectors of the economy.
Also, Mademba Sock, OTUWA President, expressed dismay over the delay of Nigerian government in signing its headquarters agreement located in Nigeria.
“We intimated the relevant government officials when we visited Nigeria in May 2016 on the need for effective take off of the secretariat.
“We have since put up a formal request to this effect.
“It is our hope that the relevant government agencies would give expedited consideration and approval to our application.”
The OTUWU president said the workshop was to enable them look at ways of implementing the roadmap of building a strong and dynamic labour movement in the West African sub-region in the coming years.
“It is our hope that this programme will provide us with the opportunity to have a serious conversation on the real and potential challenges faced in the implementation phase of our strategic plan.”