….As Reps pass bill for second reading
By Chhristiana Ekpa
House of Representatives on Tuesday passed through second reading, a bill to alter the 1999 constitution as amended to provide for a Traditional Rulers Council both at the state and national level to serve as advisers to the President and governors on the culture and tradition of their people and to help in maintaining law and order in the country.
The bill is seek to provide a constitutional role for traditional rulers as custodians of culture and traditions in the country.
The soporsed Hon. Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa Ibom) disclosed that, dating back to pre-colonial days, traditional rulers have been the symbol of the culture and tradition of the people, a position that was recognised by the colonial masters as the effectively discharged their functions and assisted in maintenance of law and order.
He however said there has been a deterioration of values and attitudes in the social space in recent times, adding that “in Africa as a whole, it is a fact that customs and traditions are major holders and influencers of social values and ethics.
“The deterioration of our social values is not unconnected with little emphasis we have placed in building and growing our culture and traditions.
“Constitutionalising the role of traditional rulers and bringing them under one national and subnational platforms will help strengthen our culture and traditions, and by extension, repair and remedy our deteriorating moral system.”
He said further that “insecurity is one of the major problems besetting the country today. It will be recalled that in the colonial days, our traditional rulers played a major role in maintaining law and order in their traditional domains by assisting security agencies particularly in information gathering.
“This Bill, which seeks to elevate the traditional standing of our traditional rulers, will strengthen their role of maintaining law and order in their domains.”
According to him, the objectives of the bill include to amend the Principal Act to constitutionalise the functions of traditional rulers, to strengthen traditional rulers role as custodians of customs and traditions.
It also include to enhance and assist in the maintenance of law and order in our society especially in our local communities and to bring our traditional rulers from different parts of the country under one body for purposes of growing our customs and traditions.