Ministerial slot: A case for the FCT ‘original’ inhabitants

After painstaking analysis, observation of events and robust consultations, the original inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have come to the understanding and conclusion that the marginalisation of the inhabitants is a strategy to ostracize and emasculate the minorities in Northern Nigeria.

However, we have come to the understanding that the root of our problem is not Nigeria as a nation but the collective leadership of the North who have failed to defend our rights as part of the North with the same identity, language, culture, dressing, religion and traditional institutions.

Arising from the above, we are making a passionate appeal to the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Dr. Sa’d Abubakar 111, the Northern Governor’s Forum, the Forum of Senators of Northern and the Council of Emirs of Northern Nigeria and other political leadership in Northern Nigeria to immediately convene a conversation with the Original Inhabitants of the FCT to find a lasting solution to the challenges we are presently facing.

The indigenous inhabitants of the FCT comprise the Gwari (Gbagyi), Koro, Gwandara, Ganagana, Afo and Bassa ethnic groups. Abuja is divided into six area councils, namely, Abuja Municipal, Gwagwalada, Abaji, Kuje, Bwari and Kwali.

Predominantly farmers, these nine tribes are hospitable and peace loving people with unique cultural heritage who have been in Abuja for over 500 years. Excited by the development of their land by the federal government, the natives welcomed the plan for the movement of Nigeria’s capital from Lagos to Abuja. It was then regarded as a virgin land.

Paradoxically, he (Gen. Murtala Mohammed) then said that a few inhabitants of the area will be evacuated. That was where the problem began. How can it be a virgin land when there are inhabitants in the area?”

The federal government then began a pilot study on how to evacuate the natives. Unfortunately, General Murtala Mohammed died exactly 10 days after the declaration of Abuja as Nigeria’s capital territory.

Modelled after Canberra – the capital of Australia –  the federal government was faced with the challenge of relocating, compensating and resettling the natives of Abuja.

Senator Ahmad Rufai committee suggested a dual system of government for Abuja; the federal government and another in Gwagwalada, that would exist to serve the natives. This was to be headed by a sole administrator while the FCT minister is in charge of the city. This recommendation and many others have been thrown in the trash-can by those considered to have an ‘interest’ in Abuja.

The failed amendment of the FCT Act has left the indigenes of Abuja in a state which they consider a breach to their rights and privileges as Nigerian citizens.

Consider these:

  • When it comes to collecting monthly allocations, Abuja is considered a state. But when it comes to addressing issues such as amending the Act that made Abuja Nigeria’s capital, Abuja is not regarded as a state.
  • When it is time for elections, everyone will run to their villages to elect their governors. If the constitutions states that Abuja should be treated as a state, why can’t we be allowed to elect our own governor?
  • Other states have Houses of Assembly but according to the Act, the National Assembly is supposed to serve that same purpose. But, while other states have three Senators and Rep members of at least three, Abuja has only one Senator and two Rep members. How many people can they represent?

Unlike in other states, no native of Abuja has been appointed minister in Nigeria.

The Federal Capital Territory is the host of government. It is unfair and unjust that for over four decades the people of the FCT, after being displaced of their land are denied a voice and a place in government.

Their demand is just, right and in the spirit of reason. It is unfair for the people of the FCT not to have a representation at the Federal Executive Council. To have a government without their representation is gross injustice.


Commandant Isaac David GCO, the FCT Youths President, wrote this piece from Abuja.

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