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Nigerian monarchs approach senate, demand constitutional role

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Traditional rulers from across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday, met with the leadership of the Senate, in furthering their agitation to be given constitutional roles.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, in response, promised an amendment to the constitution to meet the demands of the traditional rulers.

Akpabio said the roles of monarchs and royal fathers in governance, particularly on security matters, were very important.

The Senate President said, “Your request for a constitutional role in governance is not strange to us, and in particular to me, based on my background.

“My late grandfather was a traditional ruler and, in fact, one of the warrant officers used by the colonial masters for effective implementation of indirect rule.

“During the period, traditional rulers effectively tackled issues of safety and security in their various domains.

“It is my belief, and the entire Senate leadership here, that if traditional rulers are constitutionally engaged in governance at the grassroots, the myriad of security challenges facing the country, would be things of the past.”

The Senate President described monarchs as “reservoirs of information highly needed at the grassroots.”

“Your journey to us today on the request, would surely not be in vain,” he assured.

Earlier in his speech on behalf of the traditional rulers, the Etsu of Nupe, Dr Yahaya Abubakar, who represented the Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said the constitutional role of traditional rulers was expunged by framers of the 1979 Constitution.

He lamented all efforts made by traditional rulers across the country under the aegis of the National Council of Traditional Rulers, to get back the role, had not yielded any fruit.

“The most recent of such efforts was the one made during the 9th National Assembly, which didn’t scale through as a result of the failure to get the required votes in the Senate for the demand despite, succeeding in the House of Representatives,” he said.

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