The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has backed the agitation of the natives of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to be given a substantive minister which will give them adequate representation at the Federal Executive Council.
According to a statement issued by the Media Adviser, FCT Natives, Sumner Shagari Sambo, on Thursday, the chairman of the committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP/Ondo Central) pledged the committee’s support at the end of Wednesday’s public hearing at the National Assembly complex on the petition earlier filed by the FCT natives on non-inclusion of Abuja original inhabitants in the 43-man list of ministers sent to the Senate, confirmed and sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari a few months ago.
The statement noted that Sen. Akinyelure promised to draw the attention of the president to the matter and expressed the belief that Abuja will be given a minister “as the courts have ruled that FCT is a state”.
The chairman also said the need to obey the January 2018 declarative judgments, where the federal government had been compelled to include an FCT native in the cabinet, will be captured in the final report that will be written to the Senate.
He however expressed confidence that President Buhari will do the needful once the Senate writes to him on the matter.
FCT Senator and Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, who was also at the hearing noted that; “maybe the President (Buhari) has not even seen these judgments due to many documents before him…but if the Senate President by luck takes it to him and he sees reason, he will do it. All we want is to be members of the Federal Executive Council where decisions for Nigeria can be taken with us involved so that we can also represent our people.”
Also at the hearing, one of the leaders of the Coalition of FCT Indigenous Associations, Ezekiel Dalhatu, who wrote the petition “urged the Senate to do justice to the people of FCT as they were being ostracised from enjoying the full privileges of their Nigerian citizenship by not having a representative in the federal cabinet despite last year’s Court of Appeal judgment that is yet to be challenged by the federal government.”
“One of the lead lawyers representing the aggrieved FCT natives, Musa Panya-Baba informed the Senate Ethics Committee on the steps taken to ensure that the federal government obeyed the Court of Appeal judgment through appropriate service to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
“He said despite the efforts, the Justice Minister and Presidency had remain mute on the matter thereby provoking many natives of the territory,” the statement added.