Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello has banned traditional rulers across the 21 local government areas in the state from giving out chieftaincy or traditional titles to anybody without approval of the state government.
The governor premised his decision on the growing land and chieftaincy crises that arise from such titles in the state, saying they are overwhelming and have caused serious insecurity; hence the need to stem the tides.
The state commissioner For Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Salami Ozigi stated this on Tuesday in Lokoja during a meeting with the traditional council and local government administrators.
Barr. Ozigi said, “No traditional ruler must take any step to create any chiefdom without the notice or authority of the state government.
“No traditional institutions must create or crown any chief or district head either temporarily or permanently without government authority.
“The creation of such chiefs and head by traditional rulers has caused a lot of crises in the state. Majority of the insecurity witnessed in the state, and 70 percent of legal matters against the state government steamed from chieftaincy and land crises.
“Any undue appointments or creation of traditional head without recourse to the government will be dealt with, there will be consequences; both the appointed and the traditional ruler that made such appointments will be not be spared.”
Ozigi said the decision or order of the state government was not to undermine the traditional institutions, adding that “Crime and criminality have left the local area and moved to the highways because of government efforts, what is left in the rural areas are chieftaincy crises”.
He continued: ‘We are asking you to make sacrifice for peace. The state government is spending heavily to tackle insecurity. When you create such positions and crises engulfed, then the state government will now be running around to settle it.
Such money used to curb such crises would have been used to handle other projects.
“We have to be proactive and curb future occurrences. We are not doing this to withhold or reduce the power of traditional institutions but to prevent such crises even before it arises.”
Ozigi further revealed that the state government has taken action to address all conflicts, even those in court; just as he promised to make priority, the welfare of the traditional institutions.
Responding, the Attah Igala, HRM Ameh Oboni (11) urged the state government to look into the land and Traditional law operative in the state, said it was created without the involvement of the traditional institutions.
“The state government must look at the gazette used for traditional institutions. There is need to amend the foundation. The structure was not good, that is why the house is shaking.
“Presently, the traditional rulers are finding it difficult to operate between the traditional law and modern law. There is need to review the law. All is not well with the gazette used for traditional institutions in the state.”
The Attah also took a swipe against some traditional rulers in their quest to acquired higher position, “The rush for traditional rulers to get 1st or 2nd class is not ideal.
Many 1st class rulers have no responsibility for their positions.
“It is high time traditional rulers put into consideration the check and balances of our land. There are 1st and 2nd class rulers who have no power on land matters; they are just holding on to ‘juju’ tittle.”
He however eulogized the state government, said the present administration has been good to the traditional institutions in the state.