In driving effective grassroot governance, the Akwa Ibom State Government has issued certificates of recognition to 230 traditional rulers with a task on them to increase efforts at ensuring security in their respective domains. Speaking during the event, which held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo, Governor Udom Emmanuel said the traditional institution has a major role to play in the maintenance of peace and security in the state.
The Governor, who decried the rate of moral decadence in the society, asserted that threat to security in communities is traced to cultism and charged the royal fathers to assist the state government in the provision of adequate security measures in their respective domains. While explaining that traditional rulers are closer to the people at the grassroots, Emmanuel said, “It is your duty as village heads, clan heads and Paramount rulers to rise up and make sure that we have adequate protection to lives and property within your communities”.
He stressed that security should form the major agenda in the traditional rulers council meetings to stem the tide of cultism and vandalization of public infrastructure, assuring of government readiness to support security measures taken at their individual domains. The Governor remarked that with the increase in the population of communities, it has become extremely difficult for the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to monitor every nook and cranny, imploring them to offer useful information on perpetrators of crime in their areas.
He mentioned that the state government is vested with the authority to issue certificates of recognition where there are no legal injunctions, adding that the certificates can also be withdrawn at the final determination and judgement of the court. The State Chief Executive solicited for grassroot support through the royal fathers, tasking them to mobilize the people in their separate communities to ensure continuation of the present administration beyond 2019 for the consolidation of ongoing development programmes in the state.
Mr. Emmanuel appealed to the traditional rulers to encourage their subjects to partake in the ongoing voters registration which is ending by March 20, stressing that the exercise would provide population figures that can also aid development planning and congratulated them on their official recognition by the state government.
Earlier, the Supervisory Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Nsikan Nkan, said that the issuance of the certificates was an exposition of the state government’s friendly disposition to the traditional institution, applauding the newly recognized traditional rulers on their emergence from their respective communities. Mr. Nkan said that the recognition of the royal fathers was in tandem and consistent with the provision of Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law 2000, Section 15, Cap 134, informing them that by the official acknowledgment of their status, they have automatically become officers of the state government.
He advised the traditional rulers not to use their approved certificates as instrument of vengeance against their perceived enemies or persons who had failed to support their emergence, charging them, “you should, rather, use it to form an all embracing and inclusive administration in your domains”. High-point of the event was the formal presentation of the certificates by the Supervisory Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Nkan, assisted by Paramount Rulers of respective Local Government Areas.
The event was witnessed by the Secretary to the State Government, SS.G, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler if Ini Local Government Area, Edidem Ntoeng Udo Effiong Akpan, State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, former Commissioners in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Udo Ekpenyong and Chief Uwem Etuk as well as some members of the State Executive Council among others.