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Group makes case to reposition status of FCT’s original inhabitants

The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has said that it would support original inhabitants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to get...

The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has said that it would support original inhabitants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to get better attention and regain their relevance in the scheme of things.

Executive Director of the Centre, Ms Faith Nwadishi stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of a project, ‘Promoting Cultural Values and Rights of Original Inhabitants (Ols) in the FCT through Drama and Art Forms’.

She said that for decades, the original inhabitants had faced several forms of infringement on their fundamental rights which had occasioned the idea.

According to her, the infringement has manifested in the form of institutionalised discrimination, disenfranchisement and outright marginalisation within the Nigerian polity.

“The original inhabitants were not only made stateless by the acquired status of FCT but has continued to suffer from environmental pollution, degradation, loss of farmlands and other means of livelihood occasioned by massive constructions within the territory.

“The most grievous of these deprivations is the near loss of identity of the inhabitants who have been tossed into other states thereby compromising their ways of life and culture.

“It will interest you to note that the symbol at the Abuja City Gate in no way depicts the culture or relics of the Gbagyi People either in artwork, traditional colours or by any means related to the philosophy and culture of the Gbagyi people,” she said.

Nwadishi further said that the objectives of the project include improved awareness and voice of FCT original inhabitants about their rights, responsibilities, and options through a Community Theatre Group that the project would establish.

Other objectives she said included an improved level of responsiveness of government institutions and actors to address the injustices arising from extractive mining through advocacy for mining contract transparency.

In his remarks, the Esu Bwari, Dr Ibrahim Yaro, lamented that the original inhabitants were so marginalised “that we have no say in the scheme of things in the FCT”.

Yaro, who was represented by Mr Awoyi, Youth President Bwari Area Council, commended the CTA on the project saying it is a noble gesture.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was sponsored by the Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) and the MacArthur Foundation

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