Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday noted that the rising level of insecurity in the nation particularly in the Northern part was caused by a vacuum of intelligence gathering at the grassroots created by the 1976 Local Government Reform.
Speaking after the conferment of Ganuwan Kebbi title on him by the Emir of Argungun, Alhaji Muhammad Mera at the National Assembly, Lawan bemoaned the removal of traditional rulers from governance, particularly at the local government councils in 1976.
He insisted that the removal of traditional rulers from administrative structure of respective local government councils across the country through the reform, created a vacuum of intelligence gathering at the grassroots, which culminated into all manners of insecurity in the country today.
The senate president therefore affirmed that for Nigeria to surmount the security challenges confronting it, traditional rulers in the country should be given specific roles to be enshrined in the Constitution.
According to him, giving roles to traditional rulers would allow them support the efforts of government and security agencies in addressing the challenges of insecurity.
“Traditional fathers have always been supportive of the government. In fact, in the past, for those of us from the northern part of the country, the traditional leadership played a key stabilizing role in administration.
“Before 1976 when local governments were created, the traditional leaders brought both administration and management into focus, and we still need them.
“We need to have a proper role given to them, and more especially, in the current security situation. I’m sure that the traditional rulers can provide a lot of support for government and security agencies in fighting the challenges of insecurity that we have today,” Lawan said.
Fielding questions from journalists on the problem of insecurity in the country at the sideline of the ceremony, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North), said the 1976 Local Government Reform laid the unfortunate foundation, particularly in the North.
According to him, as far as intelligence gathering and the required mechanism of fighting crime at the grassroots are concerned in the North, traditional rulers and by extension, the various Emirates are the best bet.
He explained that before the 1976 local government reform, rates of crime and criminalities in the North were low because of active roles played by traditional rulers then.
“Unfortunately the 1976 Local Government Reform removed the traditional rulers from active role in governance at the grassroots and invariably created a vacuum for effective intelligence gathering which has snowballed into a big problem of insecurity in the entire North today as regards Boko Haram, armed banditry, herders and farmers clashes etc.
“There is a need to restore their role because there can be a vacuum in power if you divest a group of people of required power or responsibilities, those unexpected will rush to fill the vacuum as it is the case in the North now.
“Fortunately, the process of constitution amendment is ongoing, providing opportunity for stakeholders in the country to fashion out constitutional roles for traditional rulers at the local government level,” he said.
Earlier at the traditional title presentation to the Senate President, the Emir of Argungu who was represented by a delegation led by Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan, said, Lawan was considered for the title because of his quality leadership in the National Assembly and positive roles being played in the Nigerian political landscape.
The Emir added that attendance of Lawan at the last fishing and cultural festival in the Emirate, also contributed to his choice for the title.
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