BY BODE GBADEBO, Abuja
The natives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja under the auspices of Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), have called for a full second-tier government status for the FCT like the existing 36 states of the Federation.
OIDA also said the FCT State will be different from a distinct Federal Capital City (FCC), which will continue to serve as the administrative centre of the Federal Government with a Mayoralty.
These, among other demands contained in a Memo dated September 16, 2020 and signed by OIDA President, Pst. Danladi Jeji, were submitted to the Senate Adhoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution yesterday at the National Assembly complex through a delegation.
According to the document exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP, the group in its “major prayers and recommendations” asked the National Assembly to amend the relevant sections of the constitution to provide for the office of governor to be elected for FCT State, House of Assembly, three senatorial zones, six federal constituencies and 11 new area councils to fit the FCT population.
OIDA said its demands are based on subsisting court judgements, recognizing FCT as a ‘State’ and an Appeal Court verdict directing the appointment of Minister(s) from among FCT indigenes as being enjoyed by other States.
“Since the courts have ruled that FCT is a ‘state’ (see Okoyode Vs FCDA), we call on the National Assembly to amend the constitution in that light to accommodate a FULL second-tier government for the Federal Capital Territory outside the Federal Capital City.
“That a Governor should be elected by the indigenes/residents to govern the Federal Capital Territory.
“That a Mayoralty should be created and a Mayor appointed for the Federal Capital City by Mr. President.
“In amendment of Section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution, that a Minister(s) shall be appointed from among FCT indigenes into the Executive Council of the Federation as ruled by the Court of Appeal,” OIDA said.
Also, the group pointed out that since the courts have previously ruled that FCT original inhabitants possess the customary rights to their lands, it, therefore, called on the Federal Government through the Minister of FCT to democratise the process of land administration in the FCT.
It said this will ensure that “the natives will always be consulted, compensated and relocated before their lands are taken for the purpose of public infrastructure.”