FCT Natives, under the umbrella body of the “Abuja Indigenous Liberation Movement (AILM)”, on Sunday in Abuja called on the Federal Government to consider FCT indigenes for ministerial appointments and confer a state status on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Prof. Andrew Zamani, the Director, Institution of Governance and Development, Nasarawa State University, made the call at a summit organised by AILM on “Indigenous People of FCT, Issues of Land Ownership and the Way Forward’’.
The professor, who is also the chairman of the summit also called on the Federal Government to give proper consideration to ancestral owners of the land in FCT to make the natives have a sense of belonging and equal representation in the country.
He said that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had ruled on Jan. 15, 2018, that indigenous people of the FCT were entitled to ministerial representation in the Federal Executive Council, as provided in Sections 147(3), 299, 14(3) and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
“We need a state status to increase our franchise beyond local government elections, so as to enable us to have an executive governance structure, independent governing body and to expand our representation at the National Assembly.
“The Federal Government should take a position on constitutional legitimacy of land administration in the FCT to stop the marginalisation of the people.
“We also plead with the government of Nigeria to honour the Appeal Court and the ECOWAS Court judgments on the status of the FCT as an autonomous governance entity,’’ he said.
Zamani said that based on the decision of the Court of Appeal and pursuant to the provisions of Section 299 and Section 147 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the Senate should approve that the FCT indigenes should nominate a candidate for appointment as minister.
In his remarks, the coordinator of the group, Mr Nathaniel Gaza, said that the summit was organised for the indigenous people of the FCT to discuss ways of addressing some of the perceptible challenges they were having.
He said that the summit was also organised to draw the Federal Government’s attention to the need for FCT to be treated as a state.
Gaza also underscored the need for FCT indigenes to be given the right to land ownership and the creation of more tertiary institutions in the FCT to enable the youths to have easy access to quality education in the territory.