Stakeholders launch project to develop, empower original inhabitants of FCT
Stakeholders drawn from various political, traditional, religious, women and civil organisations have converged and unveiled a strategic project on strengthening the traditional justice system that will help promote the rights of original inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The official launching of the project was performed by the Ona of Abaji, with the support of Sa’peyi of Garki and other traditional rulers at a town hall meeting organised by the Association of Wives of FCT Traditional Rulers (AWTR) in conjunction with Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls (AEIG), in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, AEIG Founder Abiodun Essiet, said her initiative is one of the organisations that have been awarded support from the MacArthur Foundation to pilot the project also aimed at promoting the development of women and girls, who are original inhabitants in the FCT.
Essiet said the major focus of the project is to reach out to original inhabitants especially those in the grassroots across the six area councils of the FCT, and strengthen dialogue and advocacy on issues that the original inhabitants in the FCT are facing.
According to her, “the project also aims at building the capacity of the traditional justice system on issues around human rights, educating them about Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, and also creating awareness on sexual and Gender-Based violence against women and girls within the FCT.
“So, today is the official launch of the project, which has a two-year span. We are hoping that through the project, we achieve the core objectives. And we are focusing mainly on the grassroots people within the FCT.
“This explains why you see organisations like the Association of Wives of FCT Traditional Rulers because they have a network of people within the grassroots.
“And my organisation will work with the 17 chiefdoms of the FCT, other community groups, youth, women and girls within the FCT.
“The government institutions are critical stakeholders that we are hoping to work with to execute our project, but the funding is solely from Mac Arthur foundation international”.
Similarly, Founder, Helpline Foundation for the Needy Dr Jumai Ahmadu, said as one of the stakeholders supported by Mac Arthur Foundation to drive the project, it will leverage on its connection to the grassroots, to advance its objectives.
She reiterated that wives of the traditional rulers play critical roles in the development and empowerment of the girl child and women in the society, which explains the decision to actively involve them in the project.
Also speaking, AWTR president Hajiya Hauwa Laulu Ibrahim said the association is working closely with those executing the project, in order to achieve its objectives, which will improve the lives of the rural FCT women especially the natives.
She, however, noted that parents especially women are worried about incidences of violence against the girl child and women, which the Association hope the initiative will help reduce drastically.