An appeal has gone to President Mohammadu Buhari to look into the plight of over two million original inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) whose lands were taken in 1976 by the federal military government to start a new Nigerian capital city.
The appeal was part of the resolutions reached by participants at a weeklong workshop organised by Centre For Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) with the support of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, training for journalists on reporting indigenous issues.
There was another two- day discussion with the focus on access to justice and human rights protection in Nigeria, organised for indigenous people on their challenges in Abuja.
The concerned ethnic groups comprising Koro, Ganagana, Gade, Bassa, Gbwari, Nupe, Ebira among others urged the federal government to fulfill her obligations by respecting the various United Nation’s (UN) treaties and conventions on indigenous peoples.
The workshop in a communique signed by CHRICED executive director, Dr Zikirullahi Ibrahim and Adewale Adeoye, noted that the first settlers in the FCT had their history traced to some 1000 years ago and their offsprings are worried that the relocation of the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja has done more harm to them than good.
The participants at the stakeholders meeting urged the presidential candidates of various political parties to visit the communities and tell them how they hope to redress the historic injustice on the indegeneous people.
The indegeneous people said they are ready to approach the United Nations (UN), ECOWAS courts and other regional bodies to ensure justice is done.
A team of legal experts was put in place to explore the option.
The indigenous people said lack of access to land has robbed them of their ancestry, visit to burial grounds of their ancestors, spirituality, dignity and native pride.
The people said they are also stateless while their traditional worship places were either destroyed or seized by various governments since 1976.
The FCT aborigines called on government to address their fears and meet their aspirations with a promise to continue with peaceful advocacy.