Ministerial list: Abuja natives stage protest over non-inclusion
by Premium Times
Hundreds of protesters under the aegis of Coalition of Indigenous Inhabitants, Tuesday morning, staged a protest over alleged marginalization of the natives of capital city by the federal government.
The protesters, comprising youths, old women and men, drawn from the six Area Councils of Abuja, took the protest to the gate of the National Assembly, almost barricading the access road before they were repelled by police.
The natives said they staged the protest to clamour for a ministerial post and creation of what they term as “second tier government” in Abuja to bring government closer to the people.
The indigenes also expressed dissatisfaction with the way Abuja indigenes were allegedly treated in the composition of departments and agencies under the Federal Capital Development Administration, FCDA.
“We are here to say we have been marginalized beyond what we can bear.
“We can not sit down and people come from all over the country to rule us as ministers,” the leader of the coalition, Ezekiel Balatu, said.
He said the FCT should be accorded a state status, arguing the Nigerian Constitution, Federal Character principle and an Appeal Court judgement in the case of Okeyede vs FCTA supported their claim.
“So we should have a minister like every other state,” he said.
“Also, we need a second tier government that will cater for the needs of the indigenes.
“Why we are here is because we don’t have our own House of Assembly. The National Assembly is our House of Assembly. It should not be.
“How can an Abaji resident reach Ask Rock Villa to complain. We should have a government that is closer to us, which is for the people and by the people.
“If our parents have endured this suffering for 39 years, we younger generation are saying no,” Mr. Balatu said.
Mr. Balatu however said they were motivated to embark on the protest as a result of their belief in President Muhammadu Buhari.
Another leader of the group, Yusuf Danlami of Abaji Area Council, said the protest was genuine and “it is not that we are sponsored by anybody.”
Amid pomp and pageantry, they vowed to take the protest to “every part of the town.”
Last week, the senator representing Abuja, Phillip Aduda, raised objection to the non-inclusion of any indigene of FCT in the ministerial list read by the Senate president, Bukola Saraki.