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Mc Arthur, CHRICED launch $3m economy, politics project for FCT natives

The Mc Arthur Foundation and the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has launched a two-year project to promote inclusion, equity and…

The Mc Arthur Foundation and the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has launched a two-year project to promote inclusion, equity and equality for the Original Inhabitant People (OIP) of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Speaking at the launch on Monday in Abuja, the Executive Director of CHRICED, Dr Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said the project would tackle the decades of marginalisation, discrimination and neglect of the people.

According to him, the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was a major source of the injustice suffered by the FCT OIPs as the current stature of FCT makes the people stateless, despite decades of calls to reform this constitutional lacuna, which have been ignored.

He wondered why they had been neglected, and also treated as second class citizens in their ancestral homelands.

“For those who cannot connect to the stark realities of deprivation being suffered by the OIs, a few hours’ drive out of the Abuja city centre would reveal the sordid underbelly of the deprivation they are subjected to,” Zikirullahi said.

Explaining the monetary aspect of the project, the Program and Communications Manager of the CHRICED, Mr. Armsfree Ajanaku, told Daily Trust that the project grant is part of a roughly $80m in awards recently announced by MacArthur in support of the Foundation’s Equitable Recovery initiative, centred on advancing racial and ethnic justice.

He also said that the aspect the centre would be handling amount to $3m for the two-year duration of the project.

The Minister of State for FCT, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, urged CHRICED to look beyond the rights of the OIPs but intensify campaign for all citizens responsibilities for better service.

According to her, the FCT administration had taken it upon itself to ensure that the rights of the OIPs were not denied and that it had opened a free channel of communication through periodic physical engagement with officials for the benefits of the natives of FCT.

She said, “We are at the final stage of getting the data of unemployed youths across the area councils to enable us carry out the needs assessment which will help for skills acquisition and other empowerment programmes.

“As a people, the FCT OIs are free to advocate for the preservation of improvement and livelihood of their people, advocate for empowerment, capacity building and infrastructural development of the territory. The FCT administration will be of support to the programme, we will give listening ears to this programme to ensure that the project succeed.”

The African Director of the Mc Arthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima, said that justice remains one of the major factors that engender development and that addressing the plights of the OIPs in the FCT and other marginalised people in the country would go a long a to serve the interest of the nation and the citizenry.

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