The natives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), under the auspices of Abuja Original Inhabitants and Youth Empowerment Organisation (AOIYEO), have condemned the alleged discrimination against the citizens of the FCT who were prevented from participating in the governorship election held on Saturday as enshrined in Section 299 of the 1999 Constitution.
President of the indigenous organisation, Ambassador Isaac David, in a press briefing held on Saturday on behalf of the natives in Abuja, lamented that during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections, all eligible Nigerians trooped out to elect their leaders in the 36 states, except in Abuja, where millions of citizens were denied the right to vote and be voted for.
According to David, “meanwhile, the 1999 Constitution gives the FCT this right in Sections 42 and 34 (I) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Articles 2, 3, 5, 13, 19 and 20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act. Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
He lamented that the only Nigerians who are indigenes of the FCT are the only people who do not enjoy representation in the state government with a legislative body akin to the state House of Assembly and an executive body akin to that of a state governor.
David further said that the citizens of Nigeria who are indigenes of FCT are the only people in Nigeria that are not accorded the privilege and right to participate in elections to vote and to stand for elections into the legislature and executive like their counterparts in the 36 states of the federation.
“Citizens of Nigeria who are natives of Abuja are the only people in Nigeria that are subjected to the practical application of Federal Laws, Federal Executive and Legislative bodies and administrative or executive actions of the federal government under section 299 (a)(b), 301, 302 of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act (as amended) as such a flagrant violation of their fundamental rights to the dignity of a person, freedom from discrimination.
“The indigenous people of the capital city are the only people who a minister governs as a governor acting for the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No minister has ever been appointed by the president, particularly the minister of the FCT, who have been non-indigenes since its creation in 1976.
“The people of Abuja are the only people who have been deprived of a 2nd tier system of government in a country practicing federalism. So, it is highly disturbing to see that the Nigerian citizens who are natives of Abuja are the only people because of their place of origin and ethnic background not accorded privilege and rights, particularly those that flow from a 2nd tier system of government and dividends of democracy like their counterparts in the country.
David, therefore, said with the foregoing, they are telling the world about this flagrant and total violation of their rights, which amounts to a denial of the FCT indigenes’ right to dignity of their person and freedom from discrimination as enshrined in sections 34, 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the African Charter on Humans and Peoples’ Rights.
“We, therefore as a citizen in dire political straits, want the President and National Assembly to exercise their legislative duty to go the extra mile by extra-constitutional civil means such as applying the ‘Doctrine of Necessity” in consideration of the exigency to protect the well-being of the indigenes of FCT, Abuja.
“They should pass a ‘Resolution’ providing for a political arrangement for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) such as the executive and legislative bodies equal to the states of the federation for elections into such offices as a matter of “necessity” to end the discrimination against these peace-loving and law-abiding indigenes before the inauguration of the new government comes May 29 this year,” he said.
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja