Lawan: Exclusion of Traditional Institutions in 1999 Constitution Festers Insecurity

Ahmad Lawan

By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has said certain gaps in the 1999 Constitution created by the exclusion of traditional institutions in the governance and security architecture of the country remains largely responsible for the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Lawan made the disclosure Thursday while declaring open a meeting between the Senator Ovie Omo-Agege-led Senate Constitution Review Committee and the National Council of Traditional Rulers in Abuja.

He said the worsening activities of insurgents, bandits and criminals call for an urgent review of the 1999 Constitution along the lines of reorganizing the structure of governance to give specific roles to traditional rulers as well as the incorporation of traditional institutions as part of the security architecture of the country.

The Senate President also underscored the need for specific functions for traditional institutions in guaranteeing the safety of lives and properties within their various jurisdictions.

He recalled the critical role played by traditional institutions in security arrangements in the country before 1976, adding that the current security architecture should not be limited to the armed forces, police and other paramilitary organizations alone.

Lawan said: ”The pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history of our royal fathers give us indication of how important our traditional institution was in those days. Probably, the 1979 constitution had envisaged specific functions for the traditional institutions, but I think we missed it after that, and maybe the 1999 Constitution did not take account of certain things that could have been helpful.

”I believe that we need to take a holistic assessment of our situation. Every community, every people makes law for itself to specifically deal with some challenges, and you don’t have to copy what works elsewhere, because your history may be different. So, we have a very peculiar history when it comes to our traditional institutions playing some roles in the affairs of our people.

”If our traditional institutions would be part of our security architecture, so be it. Actually, what we need is to secure the lives and properties of our people. How do we achieve that? This is where the meeting of today, between our Constitution Review Committee headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, and the National Council of Traditional Rulers would be very critical.”