House Passes Bill to Allow Traditional Rulers Advise President, Govs on Culture

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives yesterday passed for second reading a Bill seeking to constitutionalise the role of traditional rulers and establish Traditional Rulers Council both at the federal and state levels to be advising the president and governors respectively on customs and traditions and as well as assist in the maintenance of law and order in their traditional domains.

The Bill, entitled: ‘’A Bill for An Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Cap C23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for Traditional Rulers Council to advise the President and Governors on culture and tradition and to help in maintaining peace and order in their traditional domain; and for related matters,’’ is sponsored by Hon. Onofiok Luke.

According to the clauses that make up the legislation, Clause 1 generally alters the Constitution while Clauses 2 and 3 alter sections 153(1) and 197(1) of the Constitution and establish the Traditional Rulers Council and State Traditional Council respectively.

Clause 4 contains the composition and functions of the federal and state councils which will include advising the president and governor on customs, traditions, mores, arts, etc., and assist security agencies in maintaining law and order in their traditional domains.

Leading the debate on its general principles, the sponsor, Hon. Luke said the Bill seeks to strengthen traditional rulers role as custodians of customs and traditions, and bring the rulers from different parts of the country under one body for purposes of growing customs and traditions.

According to him, ‘’Dating back to pre-colonial days, our traditional rulers have been the symbol of our culture and traditions. The colonial leaders recognised their importance and engaged them in governance. They effectively discharged their functions and assisted in maintenance of law and order.

‘’There has been a deterioration of values and attitudes in our social space in recent times. 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.

‘’Insecurity is one of the major problems besetting the country. 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.’’

Also the House passed for second reading, a Bill which seeks to establish a

National Agency for Sickle Cell Disease and other Heritable Blood Disorder for the treatment, prevention and control of Sickle Cell Disease.

The legislation titled, ‘’A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Agency for Sickle Cell Disease and other Heritable Blood Disorder (Prevention and Treatment) for the Treatment, Prevention, Control, Management and Research of Sickle Cell Disease and other Heritable Blood disorder in Nigeria; and for Related Matters,’’ is sponsored by Hon. Bamidele Salam.