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Royal father, NBA, Reps seek constitutional role for traditional rulers

Igwe Eze Chimamkpa, a traditional ruler from Imo, has called for the alteration of the 1999 constitution to create a role for traditional rulers given their closeness to the people at the grassroots.

Chimamkpa, made the call at the House of Representatives Open Legislative Week in Abuja.

The topic is “Demand for Constitutional Role for Traditional rulers in the Country’’ which offered an opportunity for the citizens to interface with the lawmakers on diverse issues affecting good governance.

The royal father, while discussing the role of traditional rulers in strengthening democracy said, with spelt out constitutional roles, the traditional rulers could help reduce the problem of insecurity.

He, however, said that the challenge affecting the traditional institution in tackling the problem of insecurity is finance, adding that most times we run to the authorities for assistance.

“If you are not financially buoyant as the traditional, then you cannot do much for the people and country,” he said.

In the same vein, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau also
said that the traditional institution was very important and critical for the resolution of security in the country.

He added that traditional rulers require funds to function effectively, adding that “no matter how important an institution is, if not well funded it cannot perform well’’.

Maikyau stressed the need for adequate legislative framework for the traditional institution to operate.

“Some of the laws are archaic; they don’t allow the traditional institution to perform in dealing with the present security issues.

“I would like to recommend that a constitutional role be created for the traditional institution. If we have all agreed they are important,’’ he said.

He said that this is because they provide solutions to security challenges, adding that it is high time the lawmakers do something concerning the legislative framework.

“Traditional rulers must be given recognition through the requisite laws. Their status must be backed by law to handle security issues,’’ he said.

Rep. Nwachukwu Chukwugozie, Chairman, House Committee on Inter-governmental Affairs, said the open legislature was strategic and timely.

He said, traditional rulers are closer to the grassroots and are supposed to benefit from the democratic dividends, adding that they operate in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“I support the issue of state police 100 percent, and if this bill scales through, we must make a provision that traditional rulers must be part and parcel of such a process.

“They are central to the peace and tranquility we enjoy, they must be given power to be fully involved,’’ he said.

He advised traditional rulers to separate politics from governance in their areas to reduce clash of interest that create problems in the community.(NAN)

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