Natives of Abuja have appealed to the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike to carry them along in his plan to develop the territory so that they will be given a sense of belonging as indigenous people of Abuja.
Secretary of Kpaduma 1 community, Hon Joseph Madaki Shekwolo, who made the call in a press briefing yesterday on behalf of the natives, said the call was necessary because they are aware of the minister’s desire to commence development of most places in the FCT as soon as possible.
“I want to sincerely appeal to the minister concerning the indigenous people of Abuja. When it comes to the time of development, he should please consider us the indigenes of Abuja.
“Because we have been neglected and marginalised for too long by past administrations, while our ancestral lands have been forcefully taken from us without due compensation,” he said.
He explained that since the emergence of the FCT, their farmlands which they survive on as their main source of income as farmers were collected from them while they were not well compensated.
“So, we are appealing that when assessing areas occupied by natives that may affect the Abuja master plan, he should carry us along through integrating our major communities.
Because almost all our ancestral land has been taken away from us and given to strangers, our roots are gradually been destroyed completely because of the development of the FCT.
“Even when it has to do with our farmland, we must plant economic trees on our lands before we are considered for compensation, without that we have no right on the land at all. As you see the farmlands, are the only source of our income,” he said.
Shekwolo further said that over 80 percent of the land in the FCT belonging to natives before the arrival of the FCT had been forcefully acquired by past administrations without compensation.
“So, we are appealing to the honourable minister to consider this as a serious matter, that instead of just compensating us for economic trees, we should be carried along in the development plan.
“We are saying that if the government can revoke undeveloped plots of land, it should also consider we the indigenes that allocations fall on our residential houses, to revoke such allocations.
“Because they have collected all our farmlands, they are now claiming our residential areas. We have no other to call our homes but Abuja. The minister should set up a committee to look into our plight and map out ways to settle it for us,” he said.
The natives also called on the minister to look at the security situation of the residents of the FCT, saying that Kuje, Bwari, Abaji, Kwali, and Gwagwalada area councils have become hotbeds for criminals who threaten the lives of people living there.
“Even in AMAC where the president, the ministers, and all the service chiefs reside. The lives of residents are always in danger because of armed bandit attacks in most rural communities. Indigenous people living in rural areas cannot have access to their farmlands anymore because of fear of bandits. The minister should tackle this issue for us,” he said.