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Published On: Fri, Jul 26th, 2019

FCT natives to Buhari: We are not happy over ministerial list

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By Usman Shuaibu

Natives of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have describedPresident Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to include any of them in the 43-manministerial list sent to the National Assembly for screening and confirmationas provocative and a questioning of their Nigerian citizenship and identity.
In a statement jointly signed by Danladi Jeji and others on behalf of severalindigenous groups in the territory and released in Abuja on Tuesday, the FCTnatives described the continued exclusion of the people as an affront to theircitizenship within the Nigerian federation even as they urged the NationalAssembly to democratise the system of governance in the Capital Territory bystripping itself of its powers as State Assembly for FCT and also stripping the President of his powers as Governor of FCT.
“We find the non-inclusion of any FCT native on the 43-man ministerial listreleased by President Buhari on Tuesday as provocative. Are we not citizens ofNigeria? Why have we been continuously left out of having a representative inthe Federal Executive Council? If the list was extended from the usual 36 to 42and now 43 ministerial nominees.
Shouldn’t we have a slot? Why do some stateshave more than one or two slots?” Jeji questioned in the statement.
TheFCT groups said they were solidly behind the lawmakers representing the FCT, SenateMinority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda and the two House of RepresentativesMembers: Hon. Micah Jiba and Hon. Hassan Usman Sokodabo; and that they hadmandated the federal lawmakers, after series of meetings, to raise the issue ofthe exclusion of Abuja natives from the ministerial list on the floors of theSenate and House at Wednesday’s plenary.
“Wewill no longer take lightly the continued marginalization of FCT natives in aterritory hosting the capital city of Nigeria. Our lands have been takenforcefully from us without the Federal Government following properconstitutional provisions or the Land Use Act and now our dignity is beingtaken away from us as Nigerian citizens. We condemn this attitude by theNigerian government and urge the international community to intervene in ourcurrent statelessness,” the FCT natives said.
Seekingurgent constitutional reforms to correct the lacunas and discretionaryinterpretation of Sections 299 – 302 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), theAbuja natives tasked the National Assembly to democratise governance in FCT byallowing for the establishment of a State House of Assembly, an Executiveoffice for the administration of FCT (Governor/Mayor howsoever called), andincrease the number of Senatorial districts, House of Representativesconstituencies and more Area Councils.
“Weare asking the President to relinquish his powers as Governor of FCT and theNational Assembly to also relinquish its powers as the House of Assembly forthe FCT to the original inhabitants and residents of the Territory so that theycan freely elect those to govern them directly rather than the indirect rulepresently obtainable in the military contraption presently obtainable in theFCT.” Jeji said.
TheFCT natives said they would have no choice than to “seek recourse to the UnitedNations in light of the pervasive oppression of FCT original inhabitants in ourancestral homelands to assert our universal right in a formal petition to theUnited Nations General Assembly” if the Federal Government continues to makethem stateless and deprived of the benefits of citizenship in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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