By Miracle Esegha
A leading Nigeria global peace ambassador Comrade Sheriff Mulade has advised government at all levels in the country not treat insecurity with levity, adding that insecurity is threatening the peaceful coexistence of the country.
The peace advocate, Mulade made this assertion in a press conference in Abuja on 7th February, 2024.
The statement titled, “PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE SECURITY CHALLENGES AND THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO INVOLVE THE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST INSECURITY, AND TO FOSTER ECONOMIC STABILITY IN NIGERIA” said in a view of the high level of insecurity in Nigeria in the recent times which had been accentuated by the spate of killings and kidnappings across the country, the traditional institutions should be considered in the nation’s security architecture, in the fight against insecurity, so as to foster national economic growth and stability.
Mulade who doubled as the National Coordinator of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, emphasised that the traditional rulers, as custodians of culture and traditions in their kingdoms, are more familiar and abreast with their domains and environments should be made to play key roles in the fight against insurgency in the country.
Congress learnt that CEPEJ is a foremost civil society organization with over twenty years experience and impeccable track record across the nation on peacebuilding and peaceful coexistence, human rights protection, effective security intelligence gathering, and environmental justice advocacy.
Mulade who is also a traditional chief maintained the sure means to fight and end insecurity in Nigeria is to engage the traditional rulers with the responsibility of ensuring that their respective domains are totally free from insecurity issues.
The statement reads, “It is important to note here that traditional rulers, as custodians of culture and traditions in their kingdoms, are more familiar and abreast with their domains and environments. This places them in a strategic position as leaders that can effectively take charge and control of their areas. Therefore, they should be given the responsibility to protect lives and property in their domains in collaboration with security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“I strongly believe that such collaboration will go a long way towards bringing the security challenges under control. It is also worthy of note that bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements hide in a locality/place, within the domain of a traditional ruler, where they carry out their nefarious activities which have become an international embarrassment to Nigeria. The insecurity issue equally affects the country’s economic growth.
“In the fight against insecurity, traditional rulers, as stakeholders, should be given the authority to also secure their kingdoms against political violence. This means that security votes should be allocated to them, as they are in better positions to fight against insecurity in their kingdoms if the country’s leadership truly wants to end insecurity in the country. In other words, traditional institutions in the country should be strengthened if Nigeria must be insecurity-free so as to achieve a stable economy that will attract international and local investors.
“The Federal Government, led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, should take proactive steps to ensure that traditional rulers are at the forefront of the fight against insecurity nationwide. Efforts should be made to bring them on board and give them the opportunity to play their parts towards rescuing our dear country from criminals, and restoring peace in line with Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda. No price is too much to pay for peace.
“Beside giving traditional rulers the power to fight insecurity, if the country must progress economically, all hands must be on deck because security is a collective responsibility and everyone’s business. Ensuring security should not be left for only security agencies. The good thing here is that empowering the traditional rulers makes it easier to involve everybody since almost all Nigerians respect their traditional rulers. Our traditional institutions have long been the custodians of our cultural heritage and the guardians of community cohesion. Their wisdom, authority, and grassroots presence uniquely position them to play a pivotal role in addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting our nation today.
“The recent surge in crime, particularly kidnapping, poses a grave threat to the safety and security of our citizens. Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, the perpetrators continue to operate with impunity, wreaking havoc on innocent lives and instilling fear in our communities. It is evident that a holistic approach, which leverages the expertise and influence of traditional rulers, is essential to effectively combatting this scourge.
“Furthermore, the issue of unemployment remains a significant obstacle to our nation’s progress and development. With a large youth population facing limited job opportunities, there is a growing sense of disillusionment and frustration that can easily be exploited by nefarious elements. By empowering traditional institutions to collaborate with government agencies, NGOs, and private sector stakeholders, we can devise comprehensive strategies to create employment opportunities, promote entrepreneurship, and foster economic empowerment at the grassroots level.
“Additionally, the phenomenon of youth restiviness demands urgent attention and proactive intervention. Unaddressed grievances, marginalization, and a lack of avenues for meaningful engagement are fueling discontent and social unrest in various parts of the country. Traditional leaders, as trusted mediators and community influencers, possess the cultural capital and moral authority needed to engage disaffected youth, promote dialogue, and facilitate reconciliation processes that address underlying grievances and promote social cohesion.
“Mr. President, I urge you to consider the invaluable contribution that traditional institutions can make in addressing these pressing challenges. By forging strong partnerships between the government and traditional rulers, we can harness the collective wisdom, resources, and legitimacy of our diverse communities to foster peace, prosperity, and progress for all Nigerians.
“Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. I remain hopeful that with decisive leadership and concerted action, we can overcome these challenges and build a brighter future for our beloved nation.
“Government at all levels, therefore, should adopt a strong working relationship with traditional rulers by collaborating/communicating with, as well as commending them towards ending insecurity, and stabilizing the growth of our economy to truly reflect Nigeria as the biggest economy in, and giant of Africa.
“Let me reiterate that continued insecurity is an embarrassment to Nigeria on the international scene and the country is sitting on a keg of gun powder. Therefore, government must rise up and end this challenges once and for all.
“Mr President, it is imperative at this critical time to draw your attention to the Five deadly monster indicators of insecurity in Nigeria which must be proactively and genuinely addressed now to save our dear Nation, Nigeria.
(a) Political Insecurity
(b) Religious Insecurity
(c) Economic Insecurity
(d) Traditional/Communal Insecurity
Constitutional Amendment :
“Therefore, I propose that we consider a constitutional amendment to formally include traditional rulers in our nation’s government structure. By granting them a formal role in governance,
we can harness their insights and expertise to develop more effective strategies for crime prevention and community policing.
“Furthermore, empowering traditional rulers with official responsibilities can help foster greater accountability and transparency at the grassroots level, strengthening the bond between government institutions and the communities they serve.
“I understand that any constitutional amendment is a complex process that requires careful consideration and deliberation between the Executive, legislative arm of government.
However, I believe that the potential benefits of integrating traditional rulers into our governance framework far outweigh the challenges.
“In conclusion, Mr. President, I urge you to prioritize this matter and initiate the necessary steps to explore the inclusion of traditional rulers in our government structure. By working together with these respected leaders, we can take meaningful strides towards creating safer and more secure communities for all our citizens.
“I strongly believe that traditional rulers are able to, if empowered by law and adequately provided with the necessary wherewithal, to protect their domains, in collaboration with security agencies. This will complement government’s efforts at all levels to nip insecurity in the bud and end this ugly menace that has ravaged Nigeria deteriorating international reputation.
“As a patriotic and peace loving Nigerian. I wish to strongly appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to as matter of national urgency to take a decisive positive action against insecurity challenges that as continually threatening our corporate existence as a Nation and if must end Political and Religious insecurity that have ravaged our dear country. The leadership led by our indefatigable President must genuinely adopt security for all approach rather than security for one call”.