Abuja natives want reparation and development commission
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.