Stripping of traditional council of constitutional powers responsible for present spate of insecurity – Sultan

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Chairman , National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto, H.E Dr. Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar has said that the stripping of the traditional council of its constitutional powers was responsible for the present spate of insecurity and corruption.

This is also as he has recommended that traditional rulers in the country be given the constitutional recognition; official government backing and other legal authorities they had prior to the 1966 Unitary government Decree; General’s Gowon and Obasanjo’s 1967 and 1976 local government decree’s  respectively’ which stripped the traditional authorities of their powers and gave same to  local  government councils.

The Sultan who spoke through the Etsu Nupe,  Alh. Dr Yahaya Abubakar who stated this at the presentation of a Memorandum to the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution, said

In his presentation, Sultan Abubakar lamented thus , “ Currently, traditional rulers  do not have the constitutional or other legal backings to perform effectively as they are not even mentioned in the 1999 constitution” “ This is a great departure from all earlier constitutions that recognized them and gave them functions to perform. Indeed all the Nigerian earlier constitutions gave the Chairmen of the State Councils of Chiefs seats in the national council of State alongside former Presidents, Chief Justices, etc. For Example, this is clearly provided for under section 140 (1) and under part 1 of the third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution”.

His words “No community or nation would thrive successfully without the constitution of its historical evolution, customs, values and beliefsL. “The Nigerian nation evolved from the amalgamation of several empires, kingdoms, caliphates and chiefdoms”.

“Nigeria needs to explore all available means of conflict resolution, Intelligence Gathering and containment of insecurities that will complement the conventional security outfits. This could be found in the traditional institutions as they are capable of binding their various people together and brokering peace.  This will herald a positive change from what obtains presently in the conventional security/ justice.

Nigeria’s major areas of conflicts today are on religion, ethnicity and land resources. Before the 1976 local government reforms, which stripped Traditional Rulers of their powers, there were never any recorded serious incidences of religious, ethnic or land related conflicts, where hundreds of of lives were lost as it is obtained nowadays. For example, the first major religious crisis in Northern Nigeria, the Maitasine riot in Kano, which claimed about 6,000 lives occurred in 1980. The same Maitasine was deported to his native Cameroun republic in 1950 when he started to create problems in Kano by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammed sanusi 1, he returned later after the reign of Emir Sanusi 1 and again started to cause problems. He was jailed in 1973 by Emir of Kano.

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