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Abuja indigenes hail court’s decision on ministerial representation

President Muhammadu Buhari
By Martins Odeh
Some FCT indigenes have expressed delight over the Court of Appeal’s Jan. 15 judgment that entitled them to ministerial representation in the Federal Executive Council as provided by the 1999 Constitution.

A cross section of them commended the court’s decision in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

They said the decision would now give them the opportunity to fully participate in governance.

Chief Amos Yawa, a Community Leader in Nyanya, said the decision of the court was a respite, adding that the conversion of their land to federal capital should be a blessing toward their development.

The community leader, who expressed delight over the decision, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement it without delay.

He pointed out that “my people and I are happy. In fact, we had a mini cultural dance when the news was broken to us.

“We are peace-loving people and we want to continue to host the rest of Nigerians but this should happen with sustained respect for existence.”

Elder John Madaki, another indigene, said the Court of Appeal had done the right thing eventually, saying the decision must have come due to the president’s goodwill.

Madaki said Abuja indigenes had for several years fought for such court decision, adding that the people were grateful to the present regime for the gesture.

According to him, the development will open a new chapter of mutual truth and respect for the government.

On his part, Alhaji Mando Jikwe, said the decision would now encourage government to begin to appoint an Abuja indigene as FCT Minister, adding that “the awkward days were gone.

“Our freedom has gradually come and our children can dream dreams to attain ministerial positions.”

Mr Galgo Mustapha, another indigene, said the decision was a good omen, adding that the government must harp on this to consider the people for other political positions.

The court in a unanimous decision on Jan. 15, 2018, declared Abuja indigenes as entitled to ministerial position as provided by the combined provisions of Sec. 147(3), 299, 14(3) & 42 of 1999 Constitution.

The court also declared that the persistent denial and refusal of past presidents and current president to so appoint an Indigene of FCT Abuja as minister tantamounts to gross violation of the Constitution.

The court also held that such action violated the constitutional rights and fundamental rights, as well as their rights against discrimination.

The court, therefore, directed the President to immediately make the said appointment.

The cost of N100,000 was awarded against the President and Attorney-General of the Federation, being first and second respondents.

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