The National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria paid a courtesy visit to the leadership of the Senate at the National Assembly on Monday, July 25.
Naija News reports that Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the principal officers of the Senate met with the monarchs led by the Etsu Nupe, His Royal Highness Yahaya Abubakar, who represented the Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Highness Sa’ad Abubakar.
Speaking during the meeting, Abubakar said the royal fathers said they were in the Senate to formally congratulate Akpabio on his emergence as the President of the Senate.
The Etsu Nupe added that the monarchs came to the Senate to also place a request before the Senate on the need to recognise the roles of the traditional rulers in nation-building through legislation
Abubakar said, however, that the 1999 Constitution failed to assign specific roles to the traditional rulers, in spite of the crucial roles they played in stabilising the society and maintaining the unity of the country.
He said that although the traditional rulers made several efforts to rectify the problem, the situation has remained the same.
“The most recent of such efforts was the one made during the 9th National Assembly which didn’t scale through as a result of failure to get the required votes in the Senate in spite of its success in the House of Representatives,” he said.
In his remarks, Akpabio said the Senate will consider assigning Constitutional roles to traditional rulers in the next Constitution amendment to give them a sense of belonging.
Akpabio said that the royal fathers had key roles to play in governance, especially in the area of ensuring the security of lives and property.
He 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 a thing of the past.”
See photos of the meeting below;