Posted by News Express | 21 February 2013 | 4,571 times
A coalition of 13 NGOs has petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan over the controversy surrounding the proposed building of an African First Ladies Peace Mission House by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) under the leadership of Alhaji Bala Mohammed.
In an Open Letter to the President, a copy of which was made available to News Express, the groups castigated opponents of the move by the FCTA, describing them as detractors intent on blackmailing the FCT Minister.
The 13 NGOs that wrote under the under auspices of Groups in Support of The African First Ladies Peace Mission include: National Council for Women Society; The Market Women Association; United Women Traders Association of Nigeria; Friends of Abuja; Zenzelen Organization; Youth of Social Network; Women in Business; Kasuwa da Kasuwa Mobilisation Team; the Widows Organization; Youth Mobilization Movement of Nigeria; Farmers Association of Nigeria; Hairdressers and Barbers Association of Nigeria; and the Disabled Organization of Nigeria.
The groups had rallied yesterday in Abuja in support of the FCTA and the proposed project. The petition dated February 20, 2013, reads as follows:
“It is with the deepest sense of responsibility and concern that we send Your Excellency this open letter. This is in respect of the efforts by some political mavericks, anti-women and unpatriotic individuals wishing to sabotage the efforts of the Federal Capital Territory Administration under the leadership of the Minister Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed (CON) and the First Lady of Nigeria – Dr. Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan – as she carries on with her endless programmes which aim to promote the lives of children and youths in Nigeria and indeed Africa.
“Sir, these anti-progress elements have always wanted to discredit the efforts of the current Administration through whatever means; but it all came to a head last week, when they chose to politicize the issue of the proposed building of the Africa First Ladies Peace Mission as captured in the 2013 budget of the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
The evil plots devised by these unscrupulous elements include blackmailing the Honourable Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed and the FCT Administration through dubious claims about the 2013 budget presented for debate at the National Assembly. They have been using the mass media to spread the allegation that the FCTA proposed a staggering N5 billion for rehabilitation of prostitutes and destitute and N4 billion for the building of the office of a private NGO.
“The incessant, malicious allegations which have refused to fade away are indicative of the fact that some powerful forces are behind the wicked claims; and that these individuals are bent on deploying enormous resources to continue to circulate the false claims through various platforms and in collaboration with some dodgy organizations and some off-the-shelf “activists”. The sponsored campaigners and activists even staged a make-believe protest in Lagos last week with the aim of hoodwinking the general public into swallowing the falsehoods they have been shamelessly peddling.
“We the peace-loving, progress-driven women, youths and believers in the Nigeria and Abuja project wish to categorically state that we are in absolute support of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, and the FCT Administration. We believe unequivocally:
“1. That the proposed African First Ladies Peace Mission House is not a property or NGO belonging to the Nigerian First Lady or any other individual.
“2. That proposed African First Ladies Peace Mission House is the Secretariat of the African First Ladies Peace Mission of the African Union (AU).
“3. That Act Number 6 (formerly Decree No. 6) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which created the FCT and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) vests the FCT Administration with the statutory function of designing and constructing public buildings on behalf of the Federal Government for use by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) as well as other national and international organizations for the benefit of the public.
“4. That it is in the overall interest of the Nigerian people and mankind generally and in pursuit of its onerous responsibility that the FCTA has embarked on the construction of the African First Ladies Peace Mission Secretariat in Abuja.
“5. That in the past, the FCT Administration had built edifices such as the Women Center and the National Hospital for Women and Children (now National Hospital) both of which were championed by former First Ladies; and that these buildings are today still being used and enjoyed by the public.
“Your Excellency, some of us who were participants of the 1995 Beijing Women Conference are still lucky to be alive today, to remind the world of the role women and First Ladies have played in the development of women and youths since that historic event. The African First Ladies Peace Mission was created in 1996 to promote peace and harmony in the African continent after the Beijing Conference on Women and its subsequent Declaration in Zimbabwe during the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU). We also feel compelled to remind His Excellency that all the African First Ladies had at their conference some two (2) years back, resolved unanimously, to make Abuja the seat of the permanent secretariat of the Peace Mission whose importance is underscored by the spate of crises ravaging different parts of Africa.
“It is indeed a shame and ironic that the construction of the continental Secretariat of such a pivotal organ of the AU like the African First Ladies Peace Mission has been made a subject of ill-motivated debates and evil politics as we are witnessing in Nigeria today.
“The question that begs an answer is: why have some people resorted to spreading needless and inciting speculations about a major project which has the potential to touch the lives of hundreds of millions of women and children in Africa – Nigeria inclusive? What, really, is the motive of these cash-and-carry activists? Are they doing the dirty job for some political desperados or for what reasons exactly?
“Another issue of great concern to us is how the reckless peddlers have decided to turn their venom toward the person of the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed. Their agenda is simple: they view Bala as key to the actualization of His Excellency’s Transformation Agenda in our nation’s capital as well as an astute loyalist of Mr. President. We hear that the enemies of progress are perpetrating the current mischief because of politics of ministerial appointment and/or some 2015 electoral permutations, in which case they perceive the FCT Minister as a formidable obstacle to the realization of their blinding ambitions.
“Your Excellency, we wish to state categorically that we the women, youths and Friends of the FCT totally and unreservedly support and applaud the development strides of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, as he works to transform the FCT through impactful and job-creating projects such as the Land the Swap Initiative, the Abuja Light Rail, the numerous other infrastructure development programmes.
“As Abuja residents and lovers we are proud to declare that: FCT is Working; Bala is Transforming!!!
“As for our beloved mother, Dr. Dame Goodluck Jonathan, we want to appreciate her huge efforts in providing succour to women, youths, children, widows and widowers in the FCT and Nigeria in general. We are deeply touched by the fact that her Excellency’s programmes have over the years, also included providing welfare for persons with disability, orphans and the elderly. We thank God for your life, for your health and for your motherly love! Long live our Mother! Long live our dear First Lady!
“Finally Your Excellency, please permit us to use this medium to call on you to completely ignore and disregard all distractions as posed by those who are bent on seeing your administration fail. They are hired activists and consultant-politicians who wish our country ill. They are anarchists who hide under grammar and empty rhetoric. They are enemies of progress whose desire of causing mayhem in our beloved is out in the open. But, Your Excellency, in God’s name, they shall fail while Nigeria sails stronger under your mature and fatherly resolve to transform our country. Long live our Father! Long live our dear President!”
•Photo: Some of the groups brandishing placards during the rally . . . yesterday in Abuja.
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