Falana warns FG on pipeline deal with Morocco

                                                              Femi Falana

Human Rights lawyer , Mr . Femi Falana , has advised the Federal Government to be cautious in the natural gas pipeline deal it is negotiating with Morocco .
He warned that since the pipeline would run through the territory of Western Sahara , the government should include representatives of the Saharawi people (or Polisario Front) in the negotiations to avoid “ unnecessary litigation ” that would arise from the proposed commercial agreement , if they were left out of the negotiations .
In a statement on Friday, Falana , a Senior Advocate of Nigeria , explained that it would be a great financial risk and an investment in uncertainty to invest in Western Sahara without the approval of the Saharawi people.
He noted that the European Court of Human Rights had in a 2015 judgment upheld the right of the Saharawi people to self determination and affirmed the area as a separate territory distinct from the Kingdom of Morocco .
He said , “ With the connivance of leading western governments notably United States and France ( the major arms suppliers to Morocco ) , Rabat has defied all resolutions of the United Nations for the peaceful resolution of the struggle of the Saharawi people for self determination . Notwithstanding that the 1991 agreement was brokered by the United Nations , Morocco has refused to organise the referendum . ”
Giving a historical perspective, Falana said since Spain , which colonised Western Sahara in the 19 th century , illegally handed over the administrative control of the territory to Mauritania and Morocco , based on pressure from the United Nations , Morocco had refused to let go or organise referendum for the country, unlike Mauritania that withdrew from the territory in 1979 .
He also faulted the United States and the European Union for being the receivers of mineral resources belonging to Western Sahara but illegally exploited by Morocco . He also condemned the trade agreement between EU and Morocco designed to facilitate the exploitation of agricultural products , processed agricultural products , as well as fish and fishery products from Western Sahara .
He added, “ The legal implication of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is that all EU agreements and treaties with Morocco cannot apply to the territory of Western Sahara . This is a major legal blow to the claim of Morocco over the occupation of the territory . ”

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