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Nigeria: FCT Minister may sanction community leaders fueling crisies
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has cautioned communities having boundary disputes in the Federal Capital Territory not to take the laws into their hands but follow due process to get them resolved amicably in the interest of peace.
The Minister gave this charge on Friday, while inaugurating a 10-Member FCT Boundary Committee in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja.
Malam Bello reiterated that peace remains the hallmark that should be jealously guarded for any meaningful development to take place; adding that peaceful co-existence has no alternative.
He urged community and political leaders to encourage their subjects as well as followers to embrace peace at all times and promote understanding.
The Minister however warned that the FCT Administration will not hesitate to sanction community or political leaders in the FCT who allow boundary disputes in their domain to escalate into a breakdown of law and order.
Malam Bello said that all those community or political leaders fueling crisis would definitely face the full wrath of the law, as they are duty bound to maintain peace in their areas.
According to him, “I want to state here very clearly, in all the communities, whether it is inside the FCT or at the bordering communities, any community that takes the law into its hands or tries to create misunderstanding that results into violence, the traditional rulers of that community and the relevant political and administrative officers of that community will be held fully and squarely responsible.”
Malam Bello added, “Any traditional ruler or community leader that allows his subjects to perpetrate violence under the guise of boundary issues, then the full wrath of the law will fall on that or those officials.”
The Minister said that the terms of reference of the committee include dealing with inter and intra Area Council Boundary disputes within the FCT; define and delimit Inter Area Council Boundaries in accordance with the delimitation instrument or document established for that purpose as well as identify and intervene in areas of potential disputes in the FCT.
Other areas to be covered by the committee include holding quarterly meetings to ensure maintenance of peace and order in border areas; liaise with State Boundary Committees of neighboring States with a view of taking joint measures that promote good inter-community relationship; and arranging with other State Boundary Committees for joint utilization of shared resources and facilities along the common borders, in addition, encouraging and promoting joint inter-community development ventures among border dwellers.
He also urged the Committee to work harmoniously and in full cooperation and communication with the National Boundary Commission as well as similar bodies in the States that surround the FCT.
In his response, the FCT Permanent Secretary who is also the Chairman, FCT Boundary Committee, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, said, “through this Committee, we are going to ensure that the task of government of maintaining peace and security is provided”.
Dr. Ajakaiye added, “We are going to do this professionally and dispassionately. The committee will not take sides. The committee will ensure that everything is done particularly with the fear of God because it is God that gives absolute peace.”
The Committee has the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye as Chairman, with representative of the Attorney General of the Federation, FCT Directors of Urban & Regional Planning, Economic Planning Research & Statistics, FCT Police Commissioner, Director of FCT Command of DSS, FCT Comptroller of Immigration Services, Isa Dara, and Musa Yahaya, former Chairmen of Bwari and Abaji Area Councils respectively, while the Director of FCT Survey and Mapping will serve as Secretary.