House Passes FCT Indigenes Resettlement Bill for Second Reading


Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives yesterday passed for second reading a bill seeking to establish Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Compensation Resettlement and Welfare Board to raise funds to resettle all original inhabitants occupying developed areas within the territory.

The proposed legislation titled, “Bill for an Act to Establish the FCT Compensation, Resettlement and Board With the Primary Aim of Raising Funds to Resettle All Original Inhabitants Occupying Developed Areas Within the FCT and also for Further Resettlement Projects and for Related Matters,” was sponsored by Hon. Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi (APC, Nasarawa).

Leading the debate on its general principles, Gbefwi explained that the Board would source funds for continuous implementation and payment from both local and international bodies, grants for the compensation and resettlement research to bring about global best practice.

He said for decades, development-induced displacement and resettlement had taken place in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to him, to address the displacement and resettlement challenge, different resettlement policy strategies had been introduced, yet the resettlement policy strategies experimented with seemed have not yielded any positive results.

The lawmaker listed corruption, lack of funding and inadequate involvement of the indigenous people or community members as challenges found inhibiting the effective implementation of the resettlement policy strategies in FCT.

He stressed that resettlement whether voluntary or involuntary always has its repercussion for the displaced persons and the organisation of government initiating the idea of resettlement, adding that the group of people being compelled to pave way for development will unavoidably encounter a decrease In their standard of living.

Gbefwi said, “Hon Speaker, distinguished colleagues, FCT Compensation, Resettlement and Welfare Board chaired by an Indigenous extraction, representatives from the 6 Area Councils in the FCT and representatives of the indigenous Traditional Council who are knowledgeable and familiar with the challenges of compensation and resettlement in the FCT can proffer a lasting and permanent solution to the issues.

“The Board will conceive, plan and Implement, In accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and Programmes of the FCT Aborigines in the area of Agriculture, Education, Scholarship, Health and Environment. Identify factors Inhibiting the development of such areas and artist in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure some and efficient management of resources.

“The Board is to assist the department of Compensation and Resettlement to ensure that funds released for such projects are properly utilised and execute such other works and perform such other functions which in the opinion of the Board, are required for the sustainable all round development of the rural areas and its people.”