The relocation and compensation policy developed to resettle indigenous people from the Federal City Centre to designated locations is yet to fully achieve its purpose, the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Ramatu Aliyu, has said.
The Minister said this in Abuja during the launch of a project by a civil rights movement, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, designed to promote the rights of Original Inhabitants in the FCT.
The project which was aimed at strengthening the technical and financial capacity of Original Inhabitants Groups was part of $80m in award announced by MacArthur Foundation in support of its equitable recovery initiative centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice.
The Federal Government had adopted the policy of relocation and compensation for the original Abuja indigenes to decongest the city centre and to allow for development of structures in the FCT.
But the Minister admitted that the indigenes of the FCT ‘have not been appropriately resettled and compensate as agreed upon’.
She said, “Compensation and resettlement is practically another burning issue within the territory and original inhabitants because it circles around them.
“Resettlement has been one difficult thing that has actually not even been achieved. In this engagement, we will realise how we can robustly harness the potential and galvanize support for them despite challenges.”While urging them to be law abiding and not to allow distraction and hijack of the project, Aliyu assured that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would support the advocacy of inhabitants that centers on preservation, improvement and representation for the people.
The Executive Director, CHRICED, Dr Ibrahim Zikirullahi, described the 1999 constitution as a major source of the injustice suffered by the FCT indigenes.
He regretted that decades of demands to reform the constitutional lacuna had been ignored.
He said, “Sadly, decades of calls to reform this constitutional lacuna have been ignored.
“Among all the several calls for state creation, none is more compelling for than for the elevation of the FCT to a state status to correct the current statelessness facing millions of the people, and improve their representation.”