Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) is set to develop initiatives that will address the plights of Original Inhabitants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Executive Director CHRICED,
Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, disclosed this at the launch of a project on promoting the Political, Economic and Cultural rights of Original Inhabitants (OLs) on Monday in Abuja.
Original Inhabitants in the FCT have over the years suffered all forms of marginalisation, discrimination, pervasive neglect, widespread abuse and infringement in their socio-economic and cultural rights since they gave space for Nigeria to site its Capital in their ancestral land.
Also many communities in the Federal Capital Territory are without portable water supply, sanitation, hygiene facilities and health facilities exposing them diseases outbreak.
According to Ibrahim Zikirullahi, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria contributed to the injustice suffered by the FCT indigenes as the current stature of FCT make the Ols stateless.
He said” Unlike other citizens of Nigeria in various states who have the right to vote in a Governor and a State House of Assembly, the FCT Ols have been denied such by the constitution. This project therefore presents a unique opportunity for the Federal government, including the Presidency and the National Assembly to come together to prioritise and respond to the lingering discrimination, exclusion and neglect facing the FCT Ols”.
He further urged the National Assembly to deliver reforms that will address the pressing injustices in order to build public confidence for the original inhabitants population in the FCT.
The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu charged CHRICED that in the course of carrying out this assignment, it should work within the ambience of the law.
“While I appeal to you all to continue to be law abiding and not to allow distractive distraction or hijack of the project. The peaceful and lawful manner or conduct in which the original inhabitants have coordinated themselves over the years i know will go along way. With the collaboration, with the Mac Authur Foundation, alot will be achieved by dialogue and lawful conduct, definately we know that there is nothing tactically any group can achieve besides dialoue” She added.
She said her office is committed to partnering with the organisation in ensuring that the rights of the Original inhabitants are not denied.
The Minister also urged the organisation to look beyond the rights of the original inhabitants and see how they can leverage on the existing Non-governmental Organisations NGOs and intensify the campaign for citizens responsibilities and how they can demand for better service at all levels.
It is expected that after the project, the Original inhabitants in the FCT will be equipped with skills and capacities required to advocate for their fundamental rights and interests sustainably and lawfully.