Abuja na­tives fault FCTA’s warn­ing to protest­ing women

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - By Taiwo Adeniyi

Abuja na­tives un­der the aegis of Orig­i­nal In­hab­i­tants De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Abuja (OIDA) have faulted the Min­ster of the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, Se­na­tor Bala Mo­hammed, over what they de­scribed as un­demo­cratic be­hav­iour and prac­tices fol­low­ing his re­cent warn­ing to tra­di­tional rulers against un­law­ful protest in the ter­ri­tory.

OIDA, in­stead, wants the min­is­ter to fo­cus more on in­fras­truc­tural and de­vel­op­ment chal­lenges fac­ing indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and Nige­ri­ans res­i­dent in Abuja rather than threat­en­ing orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants, who are cam­paign­ing for their con­sti­tu­tional rights in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

In a state­ment is­sued in Abuja by the me­dia ad­viser of the group, Sem­ner Sha­gari Sambo, it said it deemed it nec­es­sary to cau­tion the min­is­ter dur­ing an emer­gency ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing at­tended by its ex­ec­u­tives and all the 13 FCT chief­dom co­or­di­na­tors of the as­so­ci­a­tion.

OIDA, while re­act­ing to a warn­ing is­sued by the min­is­ter against protest­ing women re­cently, urged him to get to the root of the mat­ter by meet­ing with the women to hear their grievances rather than is­sue threat and warn­ing through the me­dia and tra­di­tional rulers.

The state­ment reads in part: “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.

“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.”

The group iden­ti­fied peace­ful protest as one of the ba­sic in­gre­di­ents of a demo­cratic so­ci­ety, adding that it should not be viewed by those in govern­ment as chal­leng­ing their author­ity.

The group pledged its sup­port to the ad­min­is­tra­tion but urged that knotty is­sues sur­round­ing Abuja’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants be re­solved through con­stant di­a­logue, con­sul­ta­tion and rev­er­ence to the tra­di­tional in­sti­tu­tion and cul­tures of FCT indige­nous people and com­mu­ni­ties.

It also asked land al­lot­tees to stay out of Abuja com­mu­nal farm­lands un­til all com­pen­sa­tion and re­set­tle­ment is­sues are re­solved by the federal govern­ment.

PHOTO:

Of­fi­cials of the Abuja En­virnomen­tal Pro­tec­tion Board (AEPB) at work dur­ing a san­i­ta­tion ex­er­cise, or­gan­ised by the board last weekend in Abuja.

TAIWO ADENIYI

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