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Groups seek constitutional amendment targeting Abuja original inhabitants  

By Adedamola Saka
01 March 2022   |   4:06 am
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to promote rights of the original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has tasked the National Assembly on proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution ..

[FILES] Abuja.

 
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to promote rights of the original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has tasked the National Assembly on proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution aimed at redressing injustices and marginalisation meted to the original inhabitants of the nation.
    
The coalition, in a joint statement signed by the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) and nine groups promoting the rights of FCT natives, lamented that for several decades, FCT Original Inhabitants have endured untold hardships, political marginalisation, and economic deprivation despite the monumental sacrifices they made to provide Nigeria with the space for its capital and acclaimed “Centre of Unity.”
     
Members of the coalition, who signed the statement are,  Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education,  Abuja Original Inhabitants Youth Empowerment Organisation,  Association of FCT Traditional Rulers Wives, Mairo Women Foundation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls, Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Development Awareness, Socio Economic Research and Development Centre, Centre for Transparency Advocacy and  HipCity Innovation Centre.

      
They noted that while the amendments proposed in the report of the National Assembly Committee on Constitutional Review fall short of what is required to comprehensively address the issues confronting the original Inhabitants, the proposals serve as a starting point for Nigeria to demonstrate its appreciation for what the Original Inhabitants sacrificed by yielding their homelands to accommodate the nation’s capital.
    
“We believe that as the National Assembly votes tomorrow, it should reflect on the enormous sacrifices made by the FCT’s original inhabitants to provide us with the capital, which is now a shared space for all Nigerians.  
      
“The proposals to establish a mayor for the FCT and to ensure that an indigenous person from the FCT is nominated as a minister in the Federal Executive Council are commendable. 
   
“While these modest gains are better than nothing, it must be stated that the injustices endured by original Inhabitants of the FCT extend far beyond the scope of these proposals.
     
“As such, while we hope that these proposals receive overwhelming support from National Assembly members, we will continue to advocate for additional concessions on broader issues such as the statelessness of the FCT’s original inhabitants.”
      
Also, the coalition noted that a unanimous endorsement of the proposals targeting FCT original inhabitants would be a just reward for the peaceful and nonviolent disposition of the people who have had to endure over four decades of marginalisation and deprivation in their own ancestral homelands.

 

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