Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA) has urged the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, to focus his attention on the development challenges bedeviling the territory rather than threatening the natives “who are only campaigning for their constitutional rights in the nation’s capital.”
In a press statement signed by the group’s Media Adviser, Sumner Shagari Sambo, the minister was warned to desist from “undemocratic behaviour and practises” against the natives.
It advised him to get to the root of the matter that led to the public protest of some native women recently, by requesting an audience with them rather than issue threats and warning through the media and traditional rulers.
It said: “Abuja Natives take exception to the FCT Minister’s warning to our communities not to embark on any peaceful protest when in fact the FCT Administration’s policies are responsible for making the women to come out of their homes to protest.
“The threat to declare indigenous houses as shanties and illegal structures in preparation for demolition by the Minister is at the heart of the protest.”
It added: “We also kick against the constant use of the Police to harass and
intimidate OIDA executives on grievances expressed by persons who are not in any way connected officially to the association.
“Peaceful protest is one of the basic ingredients of a democratic society and should not be viewed by those in government as challenging their authority. After all, you cannot beat a man or woman and expect him or her not to cry.”