OrderPaperToday – Traditional rulers under the aegis of National Traditional Council of Nigeria has called on the National Assembly to forthwith amend the 1999 constitution of Nigeria so as to include its members in the National Council of State.
The traditional rulers’ council also urged the federal government to undertake an evaluation of traditional customs and usages that are outdated or socially harmful or incompatible with national interest.
The body of traditional rulers also suggested to be of assistance in resolving boundary disputes across the nation.
The following resolutions were contained in a memorandum presented before the House of Representatives Constitutional Review Committee headed by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Idris Wase.
The leader of the delegation and Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar, in his opening remarks, identified these key issues as hindering the progress and unity of the country and therefore urged the National Assembly to amend the Constitution accordingly.
They also blamed the government for neglecting the powers of traditional rulers leading to the ethnic and religious crises being experienced in recent times.
According to him, “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 lives were lost as is obtained nowadays. For example, the first major religious crises in the northern Nigeria, the Maitatsaine riot in Kano, which claimed about 6000 lives occurred in 1980.”
Also, the council appealed to the National Assembly to amend the 1999 constitution so as to protect the sanctity of the traditional institution. “We appeal to national assembly, through the envisaged constitutional amendment should intervene in safeguarding the sanctity of the traditional institution by ensuring its insulation from politically motivated actions that ran foul of the well-established traditional settings that evolved over hundreds of years,” the memorandum read.
In the area of security the traditional rulers also demanded to be carried along, saying “the traditional rulers are a very strong force in ensuring ethnic unity and they are placed in the best position to handle matters involving security and development amongst Communities.”
There were about 17 traditional rulers from different parts of the country who were present.
However, the room where the meeting was held in National Assembly which had in attendance over 40 members including the Deputy Whip, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, was overcrowded in total disregard of the Covid-19 guidelines.
The room was overcrowded as supporters of the traditional rulers, journalists and members were observed to be sweating profusely.