Abuja na­tives want repa­ra­tion and de­vel­op­ment com­mis­sion

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - By Taiwo Adeniyi

Na­tives of the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, Abuja, have sought for 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.

These are the high­lights of the na­tives’ de­mand as in­cluded in the mem­o­randa sub­mit­ted by the Orig­i­nal In­hab­i­tants De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Abuja (OIDA) to the three FCT Na­tional Con­fer­ence del­e­gates at an in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion or­gan­ised by OIDA in Abuja at the weekend.

Speak­ing at the oc­ca­sion, OIDA Pres­i­dent, Pas­tor Dan­ladi Jeji said: “The pro­posed Abuja Orig­i­nal In­hab­i­tants Repa­ra­tion and De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (AOIRDC) should be de­signed to pay repa­ra­tion to 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).”

In his con­tri­bu­tions, the Se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing FCT, Philip Aduda, urged the Na­tional Con­fer­ence del­e­gates to project pos­i­tively the suf­fer­ings of Abuja na­tives and the need for Nige­ri­ans to sup­port cer­tain con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments that will make 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 FCT se­na­tor said the “as if” should be ex­punged and re­placed with an­other pro­vi­sion to 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 fur­ther: “We are in­ter­act­ing with 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 FCT Na­tional Con­fer­ence del­e­gates, Bar­ris­ter Sal­ihu Musa, said since their re­sump­tion, the FCT del­e­gates have con­sis­tently por­trayed the is­sue of non­com­pen­sa­tion of con­fis­cated Abuja lands in a man­ner that will be eas­ily un­der­stood by all Nige­ri­ans.

He said it was based on their sub­mis­sions that they re­ceived sup­port from em­i­nent Nige­ri­ans like the for­mer min­is­ter of FCT, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni, who af­firmed that the Federal Govern­ment of Nigeria has not paid com­pen­sa­tion of Abuja lands to FCT indige­nous people.

Bar­ris­ter Musa said one of the res­o­lu­tion of FCT elders and lead­ers of thought is that: “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.”

The Na­tional Con­fer­ence del­e­gate also said fol­low­ing the above amend­ments “those pro­vi­sions in Sec­tion 299(a) of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion (as amended) which vests the ex­ec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive pow­ers ex­er­cis­able on the FCT in the Pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion and the Na­tional As­sem­bly, should be ex­punged.”

Mean­while, OIDA said it will sub­mit its mem­o­randa to the Na­tional Con­fer­ence sec­re­tariat to­day.

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