Traditional Fathers As Chief Security Officers



The meeting of South-South Monarchs’ Forum holding this week in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom Sate capital, has again brought into focus the relevance of the traditional institution to national security and the need to recognize royal fathers as not only custodians of culture but also as chief security officers in their domains.

Of late the issue of security has become worrisome nationwide and is gradually assuming an alarming dimension.
Once upon a time the South-South was a hotbed for militancy, especially in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta. But peace has since returned to the geopolitical zone and thanks to the roles the royal fathers played in bringing the usual restive youths to the path of reasoning and order.

Therefore the importance of their fledging sphere of influence in securing peace and providing adequate security in their domains cannot be overstated.

But, unfortunately, there is no legislation giving them full recognition as chief security officers of their respective kingdoms.

However, in spite of the non classification of monarchs in the intelligence and security outfits of the nation, their invaluable security roles cannot be wished away.

It would be grievously erroneous to only view them as merely custodians of culture and traditions while leaving out the security aspects.

Government must begin to bring in royal fathers as a natural security arm in the struggle for a peaceful society.
With the ever seeming threat to lives and property, it has become apparent that formal security agencies cannot do it all alone. For example, the police and other security agencies are limited in personal and too far outstretched to keep an all- round monitoring of every community and sundry.

Imagine how insecurity could be well nipped in the bud if monarchs in al the 776 local government areas of Nigeria are fully incorporated into the official security network and the same also replicated among all the village heads in each local government area.

With regards to the much touted community policing yet to be implemented, monarchs are best placed to effectively coordinate and run it while the police only acts as supervisors. In the first place, the police apparently do not have enough personnel to man the programme in each community or funds to recruit enough hands for it.

But royal fathers, if brought in, could easily deploy their subjects to effectively handle the task at no such cost. As custodians, each monarch knows his community inside- out and therefore is fairly disposed to gathering necessary intelligence needed for police use in community policing.

Definitely, traditional fathers could keep tabs on all criminal elements in a community and generate useful information about such questionable characters much faster than the police while also working with security agencies to curtail nefarious activities.

If fully incorporated into government security network, monarchs can constantly monitor and issue reliably threat levels in their areas.

Since security is often defined as everyone’s business, then it would indeed be wise and beneficial to formally co-opt royal fathers as security watchdogs of their communities.

There are certainly some aspects of security where the monarchy has comparative advantage than the police since they are closer to the grassroots and wield powers derived from the natural laws of the land.

Also, Nigerians, being deeply religious, are most often in awe of traditional laws than judicial laws. Therefore, royal fathers as custodians of traditional laws would become much more influential in policing their communities if officially designated as security chiefs.

Traditional fathers have so far contributed immensely to the relative peace and political development in Nigeria by constantly abiding religiously to the Nigerian constitution, especially of the sections which forbid then from heating up the polity.

They need to be commended for fostering the much needed peace and unity across the nation and it will therefore not be irrelevant if they are officially empowered and upgraded as chief security officers.

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