Journalism of Courage

Non-swearing-in of chairmen, councillors: Protest paralyzes government, business activities at FCT Secretariat

Barely 24 hours after the judgment on Thursday, the aggrieved youths stormed the FCT Secretariat, asking the FCT Minister to obey the court order and inaugurate them.

Aggrieved youths under the auspices of the Original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday staged a protest for several hours at the secretariat, thereby paralyzing business activities.

The youths are asking the FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammad Musa Bello, to obey the court judgment ordering the administration it to swear-in the Chairmen and Councillors elected in February 2022.

An FCT High Court sitting in Kubwa and presided over by Justice Mohammed Ibrahim had on May 18, 2022 suspended the swearing in of the newly-elected Chairmen and Councillors of the six Area Councils following a suit brought before it by some outgoing Councillors.

The plaintiff urged the court to stop the Minister from inaugurating the elected council leaders following a provision of the new electoral Act which extended the tenure of elected Council officials from three to four years, Persecondnews recalls.

The Minister in obedience to the court order suspended the inauguration ceremony fixed for May 20, 2022

In continuation of the hearing of the case on June 9, 2022, Justice Ibrahim reversed himself and lifted the suspension order to allow the Minister swear-in the new Council leaders.

Barely 24 hours after the judgment on Thursday, the aggrieved youths stormed the FCT Secretariat, asking the FCT Minister to obey the court order and inaugurate them.

Speaking to newsmen, the spokesman for the original inhabitants of Abuja, Yusuf Yinusa, noted that they were compelled to embark on the protest to avoid delays that may create room for another restraining order from the court.

“The minister rushed to the press to tell us that the proposed inauguration has been suspended in line with the order from the Court but 24 hours after Thursday’s judgment, the administration pretends not to be aware.

“We are here for the swearing in and we will remain here until the right thing and justice is done,’’ he said.

But the Minister in statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, said the protest was unnecessary because the Minister had not received the latest court order.

“You must prepare for inauguration ceremony and not rush people into the venue. They are the ones that went to court and at the same time raising alarm.

“The Minister has no vested interest, they should wait for a while,’’ he said.

At the time of filing this report, the three doors leading to the Minister’s office were locked apparently to prevent staff and visitors from accessing the office.

It was, however, learnt that the leaders of the protesters have been invited to a meeting with a view to resolving the issues.

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