The Senate, on Wednesday, attributed the rising insecurity in the north on the removal of traditional rulers from administrative structure of local councils through the 1976 local government reform.
The reform, the Red Chamber argued, created vacuum in intelligence gathering at the grassroots.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated this when he was conferred a traditional title, “Ganuwan Kebbi” by the Emir of Argungun, Alhaji Muhammad Mera at the National Assembly in Abuja.
He said for Nigeria to surmount security challenges confronting it, traditional rulers in the country should be given specific roles to be enshrined in the Constitution.
“Traditional fathers have always been supportive of government. In fact, in the past, for those of us from the northern part of the country, the traditional leadership played a key stabilizing role in administration.
“Before 1976 when local governments were created, the traditional leaders brought both administration and management into focus, and we still need them.
“We need to have a proper role given to them, and more especially, in the current security situation. I’m sure that the traditional rulers can provide a lot of support for government and security agencies in fighting the challenges of insecurity that we have today,” Lawan said.
Fielding questions from journalists on the problem of insecurity in the country at the sideline of the ceremony, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North), said the 1976 local government reforms laid the unfortunate foundation particularly in the north .
According to him, as far as intelligence gathering and required mechanism of fighting crime at the grassroots are concerned in the north, traditional rulers and by extension, the various Emirates, play a vital role.
He explained that before the 1976 local government reform, rates of crime and criminalities in the north were low because of active roles played by traditional rulers then.
“Unfortunately the 1976 local government reform removed the traditional rulers from active role in governance at the grassroots and invariably created vacuum for effective intelligence gathering which has snowballed into big problem of insecurity in the entire north today as regards Boko Haram, armed banditry, herders and farmers clashes etc .
“There is need to restore their role because there can be vacuum in power if you divest a group of people of required power or responsibilities, those unexpected will rush to fill the vacuum as it is the case in the north now,” he said.
Earlier at the traditional title presentation to the Senate President, the Emir of Argungu, who was represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan, said Lawan was considered for the title because of his quality leadership in the National Assembly and positive roles being played in the Nigerian political landscape .
The Emir added that attendance of Lawan at the last fishing and cultural festival in the Emirate also contributed to his choice for the title.
Meanwhile, Lawan sympathized with the government and people of Kebbi state over the recent flooding and appealed to the Federal Government to provide interventions that would alleviate the plight of residents of communities affected across parts of the country.