The House of Represetatives has passed for second reading a bill that will ensure that the original inhabitants of the area currently being occupied by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are well compensated and resettled by the government.
The Original Inhabitants of the FCT have long been agitating for proper resettlement and compensation for their land acquired by the government to build the Federal Capital Territory.
The federal capital territory comprise Abaji, Kwali, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Councils.
A bill to establish a special board to take charge of the compensation and resettlement of the Original inhabitants of the Federal capital Territory occupying developed areas within the FCT has already scaled first reading in the House.
It is expected that the bill will go through second reading when the House resume from its Christas break from January 18, 2022, before it is committed to the Committee for public hearing and further legislative work.
The bill is believed to be the first real legal effort to compensate those whose land has been taken over by Federal agencies in the FCT which has led to series of protest in the past.
The bill titled “An Act to establish the FCT Compensation, Resettlement and Welfare 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, 2021 is sponsored by Rep Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi (APC, Nasarawa).
Leading debate on the bill, Rep. Gbefwi said over the years, development induced displacement and resettlement have taken place in the FCT, adding that to address this problem, different resettlement policy strategies have been utilized, but have not yielded the desired result.
He listed corruption, lack of funding and inadequate involvement of indigenous people and their communities as challenges inhibiting the effective implementation of the resettlement policies in the FCT.
When established, the Board is expected to have a Chairman who shall be of FCT extraction (not a settler), representatives of the each of the six area councils, three representatives of the traditional council who must also be indigenous traditional chiefs within the Chiefdoms in the FCT and the Director in charge of resettlement and compensation in the FCT.
A copy of the bill obtained by our correspobdent revealed that the Chairman o the Board is to appointed by the Board in consultation with the Minister of the FCT and must have worked in the FCT for a period not less than 15 years.
According to the bill, funds for the operation of the board will be 5% of all statutory transfers and all Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) apart from land related fund in the FCT and 30% of all incomes from land related transactions.
Other sources of funds will be any amount other than monies approved by the Annual Appropriation Acts which may be approved by other Acts of the National Assembly including the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act as well as Local and International Grants, Aids, Gift as well as formulate policies and guidelines on the proper Compensation, Resettlement and welfare of the FCT Aborigines.
It also expected to conceive, plan and implement, in accordance with set rules and regulations, projects and programmes of the FCT Aborigines in the areas of Agriculture, Education, Scholarship, Health and Environment and identify factors inhibiting the development of such areas and assist in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Board.
In terms of compensation to be paid, the proposed la states that “Compensation payment shall be in according to global best practice are determined by the board in consultation with the FCT Administration through the Department of Resettlement and Compensation and may be guided by Compensation Cap 503 LFN, 2004.”
It said further that in computing the compensation payable under this Act, account shall be taken of any building or crops on the land acquired for the purpose of this Act, and any compensation payable shall be in respect to land building on such land and crops on such land.
it states further that “any person who claims any right or interest in any land comprised in the satellite towns shall submit in writing, particulars of his claims to the Administrator on or before the expiration of a period of twelve months from the date of commencement of the order made under section 2 of this Act or such longer period as the President may either generally or in relation to any particular claim(s) prescribe by notice published in the Federal Gazette.
“No claim for compensation shall be entertained by the Agency unless a written notice of the claim in accordance with subsection (3) of this section is served on the Agency within the period specified in the said subsection.”