Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Following the creation of four new districts by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), the Asssociation of indigenous youths of Abuja has warned against marginalization of the FCT indigenes in the allocation of land in the new districts.
Recall that the FCT Administration had penultimate week created four new districts namely: Mamusa North, Mamusa East, Parfun North and Parfun South in Kuje Area Council, purportedly aimed at addressing the deficit of planned plots in the nation’s capital city.
The caution was contained in a press statement issued in Abuja, by the President of Abuja Original Inhabitants Youth Empowerment, Commandant Isaac David, and made available to journalists.
The group however observed that the creation of four new districts will engender development in the rural communities and further confirm Abuja as the fastest growing city in Africa.
It also observed that the compensation of the original inhabitants should not be restricted only to the payment of economic trees on the land, stressing that some degree of preference should be accorded or right of first refusal considering that these districts have been the ancestral homes of the indigenes for decades.
In the statement, the youth leader advocated for a certain percentage of the newly created districts to be set aside for the affected communities aimed at avoiding possible communal clash between the indigenous people and settlers.
He also called on the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello to dialogue with the leadership of affected communities and assuage their nerves, noting that the challenge of development in the FCT is an onerous task and nothing should be allowed to derail the trajectory of commitment to opening up the rural areas.
David however pledged the commitment of the indigenous youths in working with the FCT Administration for constructive engagement as it was the case in the centenary project and other resettlement issues.
The statement reads in part: “We have received complaints from indigenes living in these districts of possible marginalization in the allocation of the lands as happened in Maitama ll under Mpape district, Kpobi/ kuruduma axis and Apo Resettlement under Garki district.
“It is pertinent to observe that the compensation of the original inhabitants should not be restricted only to the payment of economic trees on the land.
“They should be given some degree of preference and accorded the right of first refusal for a given percentage of the allocations considering that these districts have been their ancestral homes for decades.
“They have the same rights as other citizens and their economic handicap should not be allowed to work against them in their homeland as this will mean robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“Our organization is always committed to working with the FCT Administration for constructive engagement with our people. We negotiated with the affected communities to give us one month to interface with the government and report back to them.
“This is because they believe in our relationship with the government and the fruits of our past intervention especially the Centenary Project and other resettlement issues”.