CHRICED To FG: Heed To FCT Original Inhabitants’ Plea

Executive Director, CHRICED, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi.

The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi has urged the federal government not to turn deaf ears to the pleas of the Original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Zikirullahi made the call at the One- Day Africa Regional Conference to Commemorate the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indegenous Peoples held on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 in Abuja.

He said it was pertinent to note that despite the over four decades of marginalisation, exclusion and subjugation that FCT Original Inhabitants (OIs) have endured since their ancestral lands were expropriated to make way for the Nigerian capital, few Nigerians and foreigners were aware of their plight and struggles.

He also stated that there was a paucity of initiatives to assist them in seeking redress due to the lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the injustices they
suffer.

To correct this, Zikirullahi opined that more awareness should be created for the world to see feel their pain:

“In the face of the many adversities that FCT OIs have faced, we believe that the least we can do as a cohort is to inform the rest of the world that it is unfair and unjust that a people who made enormous sacrifices to provide Nigeria with its ‘acclaimed center of unity’ should no longer be treated as second class citizens in the land where they trace their origins”, he said.

He further noted that, “One of the unique qualities of the FCT Original Inhabitants is the fact that they have always relied on peaceful and lawful approaches to get their voices heard. For this reason alone, they ought to get a listening ear”.

On his part, Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation Africa Office, Dayo Olaide noted that there was so much injustice in Nigeria, all as a direct consequence of exclusion of certain citizens.

He lamented that, “the system seems to have been blind to the right and to the needs of these people. And the same can be said broadly, that democracy has not worked for everyone”.

To buttress his point, Olaide questioned why though the federal government alone budgeted over 100 trillion naira in the last 20 to 23 years, there were still
millions of out-of-school children, high unemployment rate, high maternal mortality, dilapidated infrastructures, amongst others.

Speaking on behalf of the FCT Original Inhabitants, Etsu of Kwali, Dr. Shaban Audu Nizazzo III said, “We have been marginalised in the sense that there are certain rights that are particular to us that we have not been given.

“Particularly, when others are electing their governors and the house of representatives members, we are not doing anything. If we continue in this direction, it therefore means that FCT Indigenes are not Nigerians.

“We are making an appeal that we should be given the opportunity to also elect our Governor.

“Also, people say adequate compensation have been given to us the indigenes but it is not true, it is important that there be true peace for the Indigenes for development to take place.

“We are not saying government has not done anything for us but we want more”.

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