By Kingsley Madaki
Protesters have barricaded the main entrance of the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA, preventing staff from entering the premises.
The residents who are protesting against the suspension of the swearing-in of the newly elected council chairmen and their councillors said that the administration is trying to rob them of their mandates with the excuse of what they described as kangaroo judgment to extend the tenure of the outgoing chairmen by one year.
The protesters who were chanting ‘FCT Minister you must swear him’ carried placards with inscriptions, ‘You cannot access your office if you do not handover,’ ‘Please release our victory’ ‘Give us our AMAC mandate today’ ‘You took an oath before, you cannot take another one again,’ amongst other inscriptions.
One of the FCT youth leaders Hon. Shekonlumi Yakubu Adamu, who led the protesters to the FCT minister’s gate explained that as indigenes of FCT, everyone knew that an election was conducted in February this year and the PDP won three area councils, while the APC won the rest councils.
“The chairmen were supposed to be sworn in today, but to our surprise, we woke up on the eve of yesterday, to get a press release from the Minister that the swearing-in will not hold today again. We do not know the reason behind that.
“The only reason was that there was a court order restraining the minister from swearing the new chairmen because of tenure elongation.
“So, we want to know the reason why the swearing cannot take place today because the election has been conducted and won under the 2010 electoral acts. The election that brought in the outgoing chairman was the 2010 electoral Act and even the oncoming chairmen were also the 2010 electoral Act.
“So why will they now come at the eve of the swearing-in and tell us that it will no longer hold because of tenure elongation. We are saying no to that and we are insisting that the swearing-in must take place today. We are not leaving this place until the needful is done, because we do not want any breakdown of law and order,” he said.
He said that they are peace-loving people and anything that happens in the FCT today affects them that is why they are pleading with the minister that whatever kangaroo arrangement that they have for this chairman not to be sworn in, please it should be reverted and look the way of peace.
“That judgment to suspend the swearing-in is faulty and fraudulent. We need a clearer explanation of why the judge went ahead with the judgment without taking into consideration all the parties involved,” he said.
Mr. Joshua Yohanna, a PDP stakeholder described it as worrisome that the FCT High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Ibrahim Mohammed would allow itself to be used to a point where it can give a judgment that the judge knows or ought to know is illegal as no law can be made retroactive.
“We are cautioning the outgoing Chairmen and Councilors whose tenure under the 2010 Electoral Act upon which they were sworn in will effectively come to an end by the effusion of time on Friday, May 20, 2022, to steer clear of the respective Area Council offices from that date, they want peace to reign,” he said.