A rights activist and an indigene of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Barrister Musa Baba-Panya, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint an indigene of the FCT as a minister to correct the injustices of the past.
Baba-Panya in a statement he issued on Thursday, hinged his argument on the minor cabinet shakeup that removed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman.
To this end, he said since the president had not appointed new minsters to replace the sacked ones, it now time to appoint an indigene of the FCT as minister.
He reminded the president that there was an outstanding issue that is yet to be resolved in the country, stating that the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on January 15, 2018, gave a judgment in their favour on the need for a ministerial appointment and the legal status of FCT -Abuja to be a state in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The activist also said the Supreme Court had also on March 13, 2020, in the case of BAKARE vs. OGUNDIPE (2021)5 NWLR (pt. 1768)SC.1 vindicated them on the legal status of the Capital Territory, putting an end to the hitherto lingering controversy.
“The almighty Supreme Court has spoken and once decided, it is final. You cannot appeal Supreme Court judgment. The court is infallible because it is final!
“There is still an outstanding issue on ministerial representative of FCT-Abuja. It is still outstanding by virtue of the Court of Appeal judgment three years ago and that as the President reconsiders reshuffling his cabinet, this is the time to bring it to his remembrance.
“And that with the Supreme Court decision now, this is not even the Court of Appeal judgment any more, it is an issue of obedience to the rule of law. It is simply about doing justice, impartial justice to all citizens.
“The FCT-Abuja indigenes demand equality and justice, which they are entitled to under the constitution,” he said.
Besides, he said on January 30, 2019, following a formal petition about the non-compliance with the Appeal Court judgment on behalf of the Coalition of FCT-Abuja Indigenous Associations, the Senate passed a resolution that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should appoint a minister to represent FCT-Abuja in the Federal Executive Council.
“My call to the president is that he should be reminded that we have very serious genuine grievances. Unlike the current practice in the country where people are resulting to violence and armed agitation, we have kept peace, we have been very peaceful and we have chosen the path of the Rule of Law.
“We have not picked guns; we have not violently agitated. We went to court and the court gave us judgment. Is it that the rule of law does not matter anymore in this country? Must we resort to violence, violent agitation before we are heard?
“It is our constitutional right belonging to all 208 million Nigerians. And he should know that this is the voices of 2.5 million indigenous people; that is over one per cent of Nigerian population.