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Constitution Review: No state should be created without addressing our demands, FCT indigenes tell NASS

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National Assembly

Indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, called on the National Assembly to address their grievances before looking into the agitation for the creation of more states championed by some ethnic groups.

The indigenes, under the aegis of Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), insisted that there shouldn’t be creation of any state until the FCT is given a state status.

Speaking at the debriefing meeting organised by the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) on the participation of the indigenes in the public hearing on constitution review, OIDA President, Pastor Danladi Jeji, said:

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“Even with the ongoing constitution review, the law is that before any change is made, the 36 governors would assent to the changes made. We are agitating that there shouldn’t even be state creation until the FCT is given a state status for us to have our own governor like others. This will ensure that we also have the opportunity to assent to creation of other states.

“It was during military regimes that all the states we have now were created. Therefore, if there is going to be justice and equity and inclusiveness, FCT issues should be cleared first.”

Executive Director, CHRICED, Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, urged government not to undermine or frustrate the demands made by the indigenes, noting that amongst all the agitations for state creation all through the period of constitution review, the case of the FCT remains the most compelling and justifiable.

He said: “To address the injustice wherein millions of FCT original inhabitants have been rendered stateless in their own ancestral homelands, the National Assembly urgently needs to tweak Section 299 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which states that the ‘provisions of this Constitution shall apply to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as if it were one of the states of the Federation.”

CHRICED also calls ‘for the removal of the ‘if’, which has rendered the state status for the original inhabitants of the FCT inchoate for so many years.”

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