Natives’ agenda at the National Conference

On Friday, the natives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had an interactive session with their representatives at the ongoing National Conference to set up an agenda for the conference, AWAAL GATA reports on the decisions reached at the session

Last Friday, the natives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) parleyed with their representatives at the ongoing National Conference to harmonise their agenda for the conference.
At the end of the session, they sought reparation from the federal government for the confiscation of their lands without prompt compensation and resettlement as enshrined in Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
They also want the establishment of an Abuja original inhabitants reparation and development commission.
Speaking at the event, the President of Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), Pastor Danladi Jeji, said: “The proposed Abuja Original Inhabitants Reparation and Development Commission (AOIRDC) should be designed to pay reparation to the FCT natives for the deprivations, sufferings and trauma they have gone through since the creation of FCT as a result of statelessness and land confiscation without compensation and resettlement in accordance with the provisions of Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
However, In his contributions, the Senator representing FCT, Senator Philip Aduda, urged the National Conference delegates to project positively the sufferings of the natives at the confab, and the need for Nigerians to support certain constitutional amendments that will position the  FCT to fully operate as a state as contained in Section 299 of the 1999 Constitution.
Senator Aduda said he was working towards presenting a bill in the Senate to amend “the legal fiction, ‘as if’, which appears in Section 299 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that makes Abuja not to be treated as one of the states of Nigeria.”
The Senator said the ‘as if’ should be expunged and replaced with another provision that will read thus: The provisions of this Constitution shall apply to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as one of the States of the Federation.
Aduda said: “We are interacting with the government, we are interacting with the presidency, we are interacting with the Minister, we are interacting with all stakeholders, telling them that look, you must help us, you must help our people.”

Speaking on behalf of the delegates, Barrister Salihu Musa, one of the delegates, said since they got to the confab, they had consistently projected the issue of non-compensation and confiscation of their lands in a manner that will be easily understood by all Nigerians.
He said their submissions received supports from eminent Nigerians like the former Minister of FCT, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni, who affirmed that the

Federal Government of Nigeria had not paid compensation of Abuja lands to the natives.
Barrister Musa said one of the resolutions of their Elders and Leaders of Thoughts is: “The FCT should be constitutionally restructured to provide for two separate administrative structures in FCT which shall comprise the Federal Capital City (FCC) and the Federal Territory (FT). The FCC should cover a landmass of 2,500sq km whilst the FT should cover a landmass of 5,500sq km.”

“The FCC should be a municipality to be headed by an elected Mayor whilst the FT should be headed by an elected chief executive who should be called by whatever acceptable name e.g Governor, Viceroy, administrator etc.”

In his address, a former FCT Director of Education, Mr. Philemon Dara, asked all elected FCT officials, political appointees and the FCT Administration to embark on not only “qualitative education of Abuja natives but also ensure that there is quantitative education as the number of educated original inhabitants is low. OIDA has a great role to play in sensitizing our people on the benefits of western education to our society.”
However, OIDA, Blueprint learnt, will submit its memoranda to the National Conference Secretariat today.

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