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Traditional rulers seek legal backing to tackle insecurity in Niger Delta

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Traditional rulers in the Niger Delta have demanded a legal backing to enable them play major roles in tackling insecurity within the region.

The royal fathers insisted that, if the government is committed to returning lasting peace and security to the volatile region, the traditional institution needs legal support to deliver the much-desired result, claiming lack of legislation makes them vulnerable to insecurity.

The monarchs made the call in Port-Harcourt, during a stakeholders’ meeting, organised by the Niger Delta Dialogue (NDD) on ‘Rethinking synergy between traditional rulers, security agencies, government officials and civil society in returning security to the Niger Delta’.

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Speaking at the forum, the Secretary General of the Niger Delta Monarchs Forum, the Eze Gbakagbaka, Nyesiri Woji, Evo III of Grand Evo Kingdom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze Prof. Leslie Nyebuchi Eke, said royal fathers have great wisdom and rights that make them to stand-out, but regretted that governments have not been reaching out to them as partners. Rather, they look down on them and only involve them in issues whenever they feel like. 

Meanwhile, the 2021 NDD ‘s study, which focused on emerging threats aggravating insecurity in the Niger Delta, revealed that absence of constitutionally defined powers for the monarch significantly hinders traditional rulers’ role in maintaining peace and security in their domains.

Dr. Tokpo Edward of the Federal University, Otuoke, one of the research coordinators, said: “Even when traditional rulers are the first point of call among key actors, when issues of insecurity crop up, the law doesn’t guarantee them security votes, no security cover, making them vulnerable to insecurity themselves.”

Cross River State Commissioner of Police (CP), S. K. Akande, said insincerity among stakeholders is the biggest challenge that instigates insecurity anywhere in the world. “With all of us being sincere, peace will surely come,” he maintained.

The Convener of the Niger Delta Dialogue, Chief Judith Asuni, said the role of traditional rulers in promoting peace in the region cannot be under-estimated.

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