Roles of Traditional Rulers in Maintenance of Peace and Security in the Society

By Usman Suleiman Sarki

Traditional ruling system is an old inherited system of administering the affairs of society recognized and accepted in both Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria.

Owing to that, traditional rulers command much respect in the eyes of the people which make them strong and influential in running the affairs of the society successfully which ensures socioeconomic growth and development .

Being the most closest form of authority to the people, traditional rulers knows and easily identify undesirable elements in their districts and take appropriate measures against their odd acts to ensure peace and stability in their respective communities.

Nevertheless, this has contributed immensely in making our communities more safe and secured as the traditional rulers knows all their people and can easily fish out new faces, changes in the attitude and behaviours of their people and checkmate all sort of atrocities committed within their jurisdiction with immediate effect and without fear or favour.

Alas, it is disheartening to understand that, upon the return of democracy which is characterized by the monopoly of authority by political leaders diminshes the influence of traditional rulers in the administration of the society which reduces their powers in the enforcement of law and order. This has negatively affected the prevention and control of crimes in the society as some people hide under the shade their political godfathers and engages in various criminal activities that threaten the security of the society.

In order to curb this problem, traditional rulers needs to be given a constitutional role in administering the society especially on matters of security interest so that they can adequately complement the effort of security agencies through the application of various traditional techniques of addressing insecurities currently bedeviling the country which include kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and host of others which threaten the national security set-up.

During the olden days, traditional rulers serve as gateway to intent persons who  shows desire or interests to work with security agencies by attesting to the good characters of the applicants/candidates. This practice assists the stakeholders to recruit the best capable hands in filling various positions within the security agencies which helped in having reliable and trustworthy security agents.

Nowadays, the use of connections through godfathers as criteria for the recruitment without the inputs of the traditional rulers pave ways for the absorption of bad eggs into our various security agencies who are now compromising the safety of our lives and properties for their personal gains.

Provided that these procedures for the involvement of the traditional rulers are going to be used to screen existing security personnel in Nigeria, then substantial part of them will be found not suitable and unfit for the security jobs.

All in all, traditional rulers should be considered for their previous constitutional roles as Chief Security Officers of their respective districts. This is necessary, if only we want the current and persistent security challenges to be surmounted.

Usman Suleiman Sarki
Department of Sociology (Criminology and Security Studies)
Federal University Dutse
[email protected]

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