Town hall meeting On CDAs and Inauguration of FCT OI Cultural Ambassadors.
The meeting started at 11:00 am with agenda facilitated by Mr. MacDonald Ekemezie. The second stanza of the national anthem was recited by all as the opening prayer. A formal introduction of all guest and ushering of participants to the high table was facilitated by Mr. Macdonald Ekemezie.
Opening remark by the Executive Director of Centre for Transparency Advocacy.
She welcomed all to the event on half of the board of CTA, supported by MacArthur foundation through CHRICED. she explained that the event is kicking the project on Community development agreement. She went further to say that CTA is part of the 9 organizations that is privileged to be a part of those promoting the rights of the Original Inhabitants of FCT as well as promoting the rights of communities through having community development agreement that will protect their cultural sites and ensure that there is responsible mining in the communities. In 1976 when the FCT was created she explained that the notion given to all was that the FCT was a no man’s land but within the FCT there are nine different tribes and proper plans were not made for the people who were living in Abuja and also for their relocation or for the protection of their cultural, economic and political rights. When the debate was going on at the national assemble concerning the constitutional amendment, there some requirements and since the Federal executive council was constituted, there are no FCT indigene among them as a member. Then since the creation of the FCT, she made it known that there has never been an original inhabitant being Minister of the FCT. She revealed to all that in the cause of this project so far, discoveries have been made that there has been destruction of cultural sites because of construction and development activities. One of them is the Garki hill popularly known as Apo hill which is the burial site of 16 Kings of the Garki kingdom and the 17 king have not been buried because the people have not been granted access to the hill to carry out the proper ritual for the burial. This is the story of the original inhabitants everywhere around the world where there are development happening.
She reiterated that the project is to further promote the rights of the indigenous people of FCT and also ensuring that there is responsible mining within the ambit of the law and that is the importance of community development agreement.
In her speech she mentioned that out of the six Area council of FCT, major mining and quarry activities are happening in five. She went further to say that what the CTA would be doing in the project is to build the capacity of communities to be able to negotiate good contract that would be renewing in the space of five years.
She also stated that CTA has put together a documentary that brings to the surface the issues around cultural rights and mining faced by the indigenous people of FCT. She also mentioned that Nigeria is a leading council in terms of contract transparency in the extractives in which community development agreement as a contract to bring about contract transparency.
She made it clear that the essence of the town hall meeting and inauguration ceremony is to identify people as Original Inhabitant FCT ambassadors. These people are individuals singled out because of their contribution towards promoting the cultural values and rights of the original inhabitants of the FCT and in doing that there is also a recognition of people who have lived and contributed to the rights of the indigenous people.
She believes that with the capacity building on negotiation there would have a model that would stand out for all to emulate.
GOOD WILL MESSAGES
The district head of Ushafa represented by Engr. Ayuba Diko Alaye, the committee chairman and youth leader of Ushafa community.
He told the story of how Ushafa community is lacking water and yet the Usman dam is constructed in their villages which by right they were entitled to portable drinking water but till date no water and nothing has been done. He expressed the kind of hardship the indigenous people go through and how they had tried on their own part to put an end to it yet nothing has been done. He encouraged the indigenous people to rub minds together especially with their royal fathers. The traditional rulers must come together and work things out so that the voices of the people can be heard.
The district of Garki represented by Mr. Lazarus Nuhu Nyahalo, the Secretary to the Sapayi of Garki.
He mentioned that FCT Ushafa is one of the oldest communities so far and Engr. Ayuba Diko Alaye just did a summary of the hardship of the Original Inhabitants. He added that the people were uprooted from their land and their source of water and replaced with the Usman Dam and for over 40 years Ushafa still do not have water.
He explained that there are no communities that the FCDA have provided water for apart from those at the city center communities not even light. He added that the light and water seen in such places is based on individual effort.
He tied Nigeria not winning any match on the Abuja stadium as part of the consequences of the evil that was done to communities resettled from the land where the stadium is until the people are treated with fairness.
As regard mining, he quoted that “what you do not have, you can not give” and appealed to CTA to school the communities on how to come up with a good contract agreement so that they can be happy and fulfilled because knowing their right is key for the indigenous people of FCT.
Message from Mr. Festus Yakubu, President Original Inhabitant persons with disability in the six-area councils of FCT.
He thanked the Executive Director of CTA for the opportunity created for the indigenes of the FCT. He added that the Original Inhabitants of FCT have been neglected and rejected, how much the people with disabilities who are the receiving end and yet no benefit has come to them as a subset of the indigenous people. He mentioned that the PWDs of FCT have been robbed a lot from different angle; in education, in employment, the Government does not even carry them along.
He prayed for God’s blessing on CTA for coming up with such a laudable programme for the voices of the PWDs to be heard.
Goodwill message from Mr. Ibrahim Abdoulayes from the Mining Cadastre office.
He expressed his gratitude for been invited because he is a stakeholder to the mining industry. He congratulated CTA putting up the event.
He expressed his dissatisfaction in most CDAs he sees that passes through their office and added that some of the request is quite disturbing because is not a community-based project but on self and gave instances like renovation of the king’s palace, gifts for Sallah and Christmas.
He mentioned that when signing the CDA, communities should make sure they are guided by professionals so as to have full benefits of it.
He congratulated the Indigene present to learn from the event and encouraged that they should rub minds in seeing that their communities get the best from the project.
Goodwill and Advice from Mr. Dieter A. Bassi from NEITI who is an expert on CDAs.
The stated that the most critical thing is for the people to understand the CDA and how to make their ask and advised that everybody should be taken along in the signing of the agreement and not be selfish so that there is a fair deal for both the company and the indigenes.
Response of the Executive Director of CTA to Mr. Dieter’s speech.
She stated that there is a plan to have a model community development agreement and training of communities in the Art of negotiation. She added that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development have given his word to the Organization on the project to give their technical support and guidance.
Official Inauguration of the cultural ambassadors.
The names of the nominees as cultural ambassadors and members of the community theatre group was presented by Executive Director and formal inauguration was made
OI cultural Ambassador
M&E Officer of CTA during her presentation
The district head of Ushafa represented by Engr. Ayuba Diko Alaye
Mr. Ibrahim Abdoulayes from the Mining Cadastre office presenting a goodwill message
CTA ED Faith Nwadishi during her presentation