By Stephen Adeleye
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, says inclusion of traditional rulers in the state’s security architecture contributes to the successful fight against insecurity, crimes and criminals in the state.
Bello said this on Saturday in Lokoja, while presenting Staff of Offices to 104 newly approved, graded and upgraded traditional rulers in the state.
According to Bello, Nigeria can successfully combat insecurity by consciously and deliberately including traditional rulers in its policies and as a fourth tier of government.
He said the newly approved traditional rulers were chosen under due process, equity and traditions, knowing how revered they remained in achieving peace and development.
“This administration prioritises peace, unity, tranquility, progress, development. All of these will not have been possible without the cooperation, prayers and support of all of our traditional rulers.
“We followed all of our laws, rules and regulations and as the time, you have been chosen out of many because of your impeccable character and uprightness,” he said.
The governor said the traditional rulers had been able to contribute toward development and peace in Kogi.
Bello said, “I have always advocated and I will continue to advocate that in this country, if we really want to have peace and tranquility, safety and development, we must be able to consciously and deliberately include our traditional rulers in our programmes and policies.
“We should be able to recognise them even as the fourth tier of government and I will continue to sing that message across even to the National Assembly.
“A situation where our traditional rulers are the representatives of God on earth, and yet we are yearning for peace and tranquility.
“If we do not include them, then we are not ready for peace, unity and development in our land. Our traditional rulers are the owners of the land.
“They know the inch, every inch of our land. Therefore, since they are the owners of the land, every crime and criminality that is taking place, they should be able to know.
“If you do not include them, how then can they be able to fight crimes and criminality.’’
Bello said that his administration would not have been able to succeed to curb crimes in the state without the cooperation and understanding of the traditional rulers.
The governor, therefore, pledged his support and cooperation with them on their new responsibilities, urging them to continue to maintain peace in their communities.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Salami Ozigi, noted that the state government placed high premium on traditional rulers, with the expectation that they maintained peace in their lands.
“For our royal fathers who are receiving their Staff of Office today, it is necessary for you to be mindful of your new roles.
“Let me use this opportunity to appeal to our royal fathers to ensure peace and tranquility in your various communities and ensure the rule of law prevails in discharging your official duties,” Salami said.
The Attah Igala and Chairman of the state’s Council of Chiefs, Matthew Opaluwa, appreciated Bello for the continuous respect and recognition he accorded traditional rulers.
Opaluwa on behalf of all traditional rulers in the state, pledged their continuous support toward the governance, development, peace and security of the state.
“This is the time for us to galvanise our communities in the path of truth, equity and fairness.
“To the newly upgraded traditional rulers, I urge you to carry out your duties responsibly. To whom much is given, much is expected,” Opaluwa said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that amongst the 104 newly approved traditional rulers, 31 were made first class chiefs, 30 were made second class chiefs, while 43 were made third class chiefs. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)