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altREGIONAL COURT STRIKES OUT CASE DEMANDING CONCESSIONS FOR ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF THE NIGERIAN CAPITAL


West Africa’s regional Court has struck out a case brought by an association claiming to represent the 1,405,201 original inhabitants of the Nigerian capital in which they asked for concessions from the government that will preserve their cultural identify, improve their participation in government and enhance the development of the territory.


Delivering judgement in the suit, a panel of three judges of the Community Court of Justice held that although the subject matter was admissible and within the Court’s competence, it was inclined to agree with the submission of the Defendant that the Applicant lacked the authority to institute the suit while some of the declarations sought could not be granted as they were within the domestic jurisdiction of national Courts.

The panel which was led by Justice Yaya Boiro also asked each of the parties to bear their costs.

In the suit against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The Registered Trustees of the Original Inhabitants Development Association of the Federal Capital Territory asked for two trillion naira as general damages for the loss of lives, demolition of their respective homes and the continuous violation of their fundamental rights, particularly under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

They claimed that under the administration, there was ‘continuous evacuation, demolitions of indigenous peoples’ houses, displacement of some indigenous communities, grabbing of their ancestral land without adequate compensation or resettlement by the government.’

Citing the government’s centenary project, the association alleged that over ‘8,000 hectares of lands belonging to the applicants was illegally confiscated from over 1 million applicants and members who were unlawfully displaced from their ancestral homes without compensation or resettlement.’

Furthermore, it accused the government of ‘cultural genocide as their historical graves and shrines are being desecrated while their ancestral farmsteads, and homesteads also being erased in unconscionable fashion,’ noting that  governmental development must mainstream the indigenous people, their essence, their history and their tradition, it is also their fundamental human rights.

The Association urged the government to establish a development Commission for them to guarantee their fundamental Rights to social, Political and economic well-being,

It said that the suit was intended to ‘guarantee equality of status of original inhabitant of the territory with other citizen of Nigeria, upgrade their traditional rulers and cultural values and remove the alleged discrimination against them on the grounds of place of origin.