From Okwe Obi, Abuja
In a bid to assuage the plights of original inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a result of alleged marginalisation, the McAruthr Foundation has donated $80 million, for socio-economic development.
The Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Ibrahim Zikirullahi, at the launch of the scheme yesterday in Abuja, stated that the funds would further foster engagement with policymakers, and reforms to promote inclusion and equity.
“With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), and the original inhabitant groups will develop initiatives to address pressing political, so I co-economic, cultural challenges facing the people, foster opportunities go engagement with policymakers, and advocate reforms to promote inclusion, equity and equality for the original inhabitant populations in FCT.
“The grant is part of roughly $80 million in awards MacArthur announced on July 27, 2021, in support of the foundation’s equitable recovery initiative centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice.
“The initiative is funded by the Macarthur’s social bonds issued in response to the crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial inequity.”
Zikirullahi assured original inhabitants, that the launch of the project “marks the dawn of a new era in the struggle for inclusion, equity, and equality for the natives of the FCT.
“It is a collective hope that the project will finally tackle the decades of marginalisation, discrimination, pervasive neglect of the people, and widespread abuse of the socioeconomic and cultural rights of the people.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, hailed the initiative and maintained that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would continue to do more.
Aliyu encouraged the original inhabitants to always demand for their rights for the protection and preservation of their heritage in order for them not to go into extinction.
“I want you to thrive harder towards the realisation of the recovery of the socio-economic activities of the FCT because that is the part to the development of the FCT.
“I want you to look beyond the rights of the original inhabitants and see how you can leverage on the existing NGOs and intensify the campaign for citizens responsibilities and how they can demand for better service.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is also supportive of the preservation and protection of the rights of the original inhabitants,” she said.
Additionally, the Director, Macarthur Foundation, African Office, Kole Shettima explained that the gesture stemmed from the yearnings of the people particularly women farmers and petty traders who were affected the COVID-19.
Shettima assured Nigerians that the foundation would continue to assist the vulnerable in order to give them a sense of belonging.
He added: “So many people have been dislocated in terms of socio-economic development.
“And we thought that in addition to whatever we have been able to do in terms of the health components of the recovery, we thought that we also need to support people who have suffered so much particularly women whose farm were affected.”
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