From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, yesterday decried the continuous marginalisation despite several appeals, cautioning that they would not like take up arms like Niger Delta militants.
His Royal Highness, Sarkin Karshi Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the people in Abuja, during the signing of ‘Our Projects of Promoting the Rights of Original Inhabitants of FCT,’ and sponsored by MacArthur Foundation, claimed that the hospitality of the people had not been appreciated.
“We have found out that a lot of Nigerians who have lived here for many years simply do not seem to understand the plight of the original inhabitants of the FCT. This is because there has not been sustained advocacy on problems that we face as indigenes of FCT.
“Indeed in some cases, there is this impression that they are no indigenes in the FCT or if they are indigenes, they do not have any rights that supersedes that if other Nigerians who live here.
“Basically, these have been our problem.We are indeed grateful that this intervention will allow these nine guarantees to sensitise other Nigerians about the need to appreciate our contribution to the unity and progress of Nigeria by making available 8,000 square metres of our land which is larger than Lagos State to other Nigerians to come and settle here.
“For the past 40 years since the FCT was created other Nigerians have lived here peacefully with us. I think other Nigerians have taken it for granted.
“But if you know what is happening around the country you would have to thank is that we have been very accommodating. We have not cause any problem for anybody.
“We cited example of the Niger Delta region. We appeal to other Nigerians to support us and give us all the necessary support and our rights and our place in Nigeria so that, God forbid, we do not end like another Niger Delta her in Abuja,”he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, explained that the agreement would ensure that 9 original inhabitants organizations get grants to implement various projects, targeted at addressing political, economic and cultural marginalization of FCT indignes.
Zikirullahi, announced that N800 million had been granted to the 9 organisations to provide basic amenities for indignes.
According to him, “I am therefore pleased to inform that a total sum of N800,000,000.00 (Eight Hundred Million Naira) has been granted to the nine organizations and their technical partners, which have been assessed and approved for this project, following a scoping study of organizations led by FCT Original Inhabitants and those working directly on their respective issues.
“CHRICED is confident that the process we have begun would effectively and sustainably position the Original Inhabitants in the FCT to address the root causes of the decades-long marginalization, discrimination and other pervasive forms of human rights violations.
“As such, the various grants to be signed today represent a diversity of initiatives, which would collectively address the injustices meted against the Original Inhabitants, while supporting an equitable recovery from the devastation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While some of the projects address the political participation of the Original Inhabitants, others are focused on economic and cultural issues, with a deliberate focus on the needs of marginalized groups, including those of women, the youth and people living with disabilities.
“This strategy falls in line with MacArthur Foundation, and CHRICED’s commitment to Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) in all development programing.”