…urge FG to utilise monarchs in fight against kidnapping, banditry, insurgency
Prominent traditional rulers in the country have called on the Federal Government to urgently address the nation’s security challenges and to act to pull Nigeria from the brink. The traditional rulers, who spoke to our correspondents in their various domains, expressed concern over cases of kidnappings and banditry in some parts of the country.
Responding on what government should do to stem the ravaging tide of insecurity in the country, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, Iku Baba Yeye, the Alaafin of Oyo, decried how traditional rulers have been grossly under-utilised, given the enormous potential inherent in their offices, positions and influence.
Similarly, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso 1, said any monarch worth his salt has an important role to play in the security of his domain. On his part, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman, Kwara State Council of Chiefs, said if traditional rulers are given constitutional responsibilities and proper recognition as done in the colonial era, the surging tide of insecurity in the country would be greatly stemmed and reversed.
The Alaafin, who spoke through his Director of Media and Publicity, Bode Durojaye, said that traditional rulers should be accorded a pride of place in the country’s constitution and in development strategies so that their enormous natural potential and power can be fully tapped. According to him, ‘‘Obas are the symbols of the people’s past, custodians of their history and past, upholder and preserver of their culture, customs, an epitome of cultural norms and values of the society such as truth, discipline, courage and responsibility.’’
The paramount ruler therefore stated that if the authorities adopt the traditional methods of conflict resolution as alternative to the modern judiciary, it would go a long way in improving current justice system, which has not only been over-stretched but also grossly abused. Alaafin said: “The position here is that the Oba at the centre of traditional justice system could achieve rapid peaceful resolution of inter-personal and communal disputes which have become clogs in the wheel of our progress and development.
‘’The Obas have been doing this at the local level but this needs to be backed and strengthened by appropriate legislation and recognition. “Apart from the advisory role given to the traditional institutions in the current democratic dispensation, Oba should be seen as the coordinator of general community development as he has natural capability to successfully act as adjudicator, mediator, intercessor and facilitator of community projects and programmes.’’ The Alaafin described traditional rulers as formidable barricades, which reinforce peace and security of the nation, thus asserting that: “As custodians of traditions and values, we are the ones who keep peace in our rural areas and in the various local governments that constitute our various states. “As Nigerians, we must respect our various religious and ethnic backgrounds, because it is God that brought us together under one country.
“When we understand one another, the security challenges bedevilling the country will be a thing of the past.” The Kabiyesi therefore admonished the police and other security agencies to employ native intelligence services in a bid to effectively tackle critical security challenges confronting the country.
While also noting that “the security of any country is critical for development, economic prosperity and democratic principles to thrive, the Oba said the critical issue is the way a country deploys its strategic security responses to protect the citizens.
“Nigeria is not the only country facing security challenges today. The fundamental thing is how you deal with these challenges. “We can sustain national security operations or options by using native intelligence gathering as a response to national security threat,” the Alaafin added. Speaking further on how adequate security can be achieved, the paramount ruler pointed out that the old Oyo Empire lasted for 60 years because of effective native internal security. He said: “It is therefore important for government to take holistic view on information gathering as a system for addressing insecurity.
“It must take into consideration the need to harmonise the roles of law enforcement and other security agencies and the need to deploy technologies required for identification of criminal suspects. “And three quarter of the universe is in a state of unrest due to lack of effective internal security”. Speaking on the specifics, the Alaafin described banditry and other security challenges facing the country as “worrisome and disturbing”, blaming international conspiracy with the connivance of some unpatriotic citizens for their escalation. “Government, political leaders and followers, and all of us, must have the courage and honesty to get to the root causes of our current state of insecurity, underpinned by criminality, insurgency.
“There is an urgent and immediate step that must be taken to consciously respond to current threats by designing and building a security system, which would create a stable and relatively peaceful environment, conducive for national development,” he further pointed out. He therefore urged political office holders to re-double their efforts, with the fear of God, towards discharging their responsibilities to the people. “With these, Nigeria will be able to get out of the woods in terms of its insecurity challenges,” the Permanent Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, said.
In a similar vein, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, who equally spoke through his Director of Media and Publicity, Adeola Oloko, noted that the security architecture of lbadan is organised in such a way that each of the 11 local government has a traditional council comprising High Chiefs, senior chiefs, other chiefs, Mogajis and Baales.
As grassroots leaders, he said, they are held accountable for the security of lives and properties of people in their areas of jurisdiction. Oba Adetunji said: “As grassroots leaders, our primary responsibility is security. We live in the midst of the people. “We know every of our areas inside out. We have access to more privileged information. “So, there is need for government and monarchs to exchange information from time to time.
“Government should constantly provide the platform. Only then can the heavy security investment be meaningful.” Speaking on how monarchs can be carried along by the government to stem the ugly tide of insecurity in the land, the Olubadan said: “Monarchs can be carried along through constant meetings with government. “At such meetings, you will discover that security challenges differ from community to community. “So, the question of using the same method to fight insecurity will be reduced to the barest minimum. “Specifically, insecurity could be fought using conventional and unconventional methods.
“At the village level for example, we have local hunters, who can be useful in tracking strange faces and things they see. “So, there is need for constant engagements.” Also, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari, the Emir of Ilorin, pointed out that traditional rulers are the closest to the people and that they command great respect from their subjects, hence they listen to them.
The Emir, according to his spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, said: “It is our belief that if traditional rulers are given more recognition and constitutional roles in governance, they would be empowered to play more vital roles in the society through the existing system which dates back to the colonial era. “Individual monarch has a mechanism they employ to control and manage the security situation in their domains to ensure that it doesn’t get out of hand.
“For instance, in Ilorin Emirate, we made it a standing principle that no District or Village should accommodate strangers in their communities without embarking on due diligence and wide consultations before taking such decision. “This will support the existing security architecture of law enforcement agents in the fight against insecurity in the nation. “Traditional rulers have been at the forefront of crime control and management in the society because they are the closest to the people and you will agree with me that the foundation of every criminal act is usually traced to the grassroots.”