“We Will Sustain Momentum in Addressing Statelessnes” -FCT Original Inhabitants

By: Prudence Okonna

Following the launch of a National Action Plan (NAP), by the Federal Government on the 2nd of September 2022, to eradicate statelessness in Nigeria in line with the international treaties and conventions on the status of stateless persons, the Federal Capital Territory Original Inhabitants (FCTOIs) have vowed to sustain the government’s momentum to ensure the statelessness of FCT Natives is adequately addressed.

 In a statement signed by the Programs Manager, Abuja Original Inhabitant Youths Empowerment Organization (AOIYEO), Bitrus Lawrence Garki, said the organization through engagements, partnerships, and other workable strategies will continue to address the challenges faced by FCTOIs.
He said that the organization has been executing projects aimed at promoting the rights of FCTOIs, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education CHRICED, which is funded/supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

‘’Asides from the need to address the statelessness of FCTOIs, AOIYEO is exploring strategic engagements with necessary bodies, developing and advocating for the adoption of workable plans,’’ the statement reads.

The FCT natives have expressed hope with the launch of the Government’s action plan on statelessness, which they intend to fully key into, to ensure their objectives are achieved, the statement noted.

According to the statement, ”Since its inception ten (10) years ago, AOIYEO has continued to leverage platforms and interactions to unite FCTOIs under an umbrella to seek redress to the many injustices they face.”

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola, while launching the NAP stated that Nigeria is a signatory to various treaties and conventions relating to the status of stateless persons or reduction of statelessness in West Africa.

The Minister further stated that in 2015, Nigeria joined other West African countries to sign the Abidjan Declaration organized by the Economic Community of West African Countries, (ECOWAS), and the UNHCR.

 The declaration recognizes statelessness as a significant issue in West Africa and set out specific measures on how to put an end to statelessness between 2014 and 2024 and the endorsement of the protocols in the ECOWAS Plan of Action on Eradication and Reduction of Statelessness, (EPAERS), by 2024, prompted Nigeria to develop and domesticate her own National Action Plan, (NAP).