Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has described the passing of Amb. Musa Baba-Panya, as a devastating loss to Abuja Original Inhabitants.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, the group recalled that the late human rights activist, whose death was announced on March 21, 2023, was a staunch and tenacious defender of the rights of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – Abuja Original Inhabitants, whose lands were forcibly taken away by Military Decree 6 in 1976.
CHRICED said: “As an Original Inhabitant, Baba-Panya was a vociferous advocate for his people’s rights and fought vehemently to end the marginalisation of his people caused by the relocation of the Nigerian capital from Lagos to Abuja. Numerous court cases were filed by Panya, demanding that the Nigerian Constitution be reviewed to enable his people to be elected and appointed to key positions in the FCT.
“The enduring creed of Barrister Baba-Panya’s activism was built around the ideal of the supremacy of the voices of the ordinary people.”
The organisation reminisced Baba-Panya’s “sterling contributions to the defence of inalienable rights and social welfare of millions of impoverished Original Inhabitants with admiration and nostalgia.”
It continued: “ We cannot forget the roles played by Panya and all the other heroes and heroines, who kept the flame of the Original Inhabitants struggle burning, until CHRICED intervention through a worthy support of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. We recall, in particular, the case, BABA-PANYA vs. PRESIDENT, FRN (2018) 15 NWLR (pt. 1643) 395; (2018) LPELR-44573 (CA), in which the Appeal Court declared Abuja to be one of the federation’s states and directed that it be treated as such, specifically ordering the Federal Government to appoint Abuja natives to the Federal Executive Council.”
The CSO said: “We mourn and condole with his family, and other members of the FCT-Abuja Original Inhabitants, as well as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in this difficult time, while praying to the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude to bear this huge loss. We also note that in the way Baba-Panya lived his life, he put the rest of humanity before himself. This is a trait of greatness, which if displayed by all Nigerians, will take our nation out of the woods.
Ambassador Barr. Musa Baba-Panya deserves a national posthumous award, and we so demand for it.”