President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja restated his support for the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), saying Nigeria remains in support of their quest for self-determination and independence.
The SADR is a partially recognized state in Western Sahara, a territory Morocco claims as its own.
At an audience granted the President of SADR, Brahim Ghali at the State House, President Buhari stressed that the country’s position is in line with the several resolutions of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) on the matter.
According to him, “Nigeria remains committed to supporting the efforts of the AU and the UN towards finding a lasting solution to the Sahrawi problem.”
SADR claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, but it controls only 20-25 per cent of that territory. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed Western Sahara territory and calls these lands its Southern Provinces.
Nigeria recognised SADR on November 11, 1984 when Buhari was military Head of State.
According to a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Ghali commended Nigeria’s past support for SADR during President Buhari’s tenure as military Head of State, and the country’s support for liberation movements on the African continent.
The SADR leader said the weight of Nigeria’s support remained crucial to the final resolution of the “continued colonisation of his people.”
SADR is not a member of the United Nations but it has been recognised by 85 states, 40 of which have however withdrawn recognistion for a number of reasons. It currently maintains diplomatic relations with 40 UN states and has embassies in 18 of these states.
SADR has been a full member of the African Union since 1982. In 1984, Morocco withdrew from AU, then OAU, in protest of SADR’s recognition and remained outside the AU until it was readmitted on January 30, 2017.
Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara is however supported by the Arab League.