TRADITIONAL rulers in Enugu State have asked that they be made the chief security officers of their domains in an ambitious plan to combat the growing menace of armed Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers.
Over recent months, there has been an upsurge in instances of kidnapping by armed herdsmen across Nigeria as Fulani bandits resort to highway robbery, setting up checkpoints with impunity. Victims whose families refuse to pay up end up getting killed, prompting many motorists to avoid certain highways.
With the menace now nationwide, monarchs across Enugu State met to address the matter and at the end of their meeting called on the state government to come up with a legislation that will officially designate them as chief security officers. Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu, the chairman of the Security and Peace Committee of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, said that such legislation would promote and facilitate intelligence gathering in rural communities and urban centres.
He added that although there were conventions that specified their duties as monarchs, they want a legal pronouncement that would specify that they are the chief security officers in their kingdoms. Igwe Ugwu added that it would be necessary for the traditional rulers to be empowered by law so as to be able to enforce guidelines that would enable them to know residents of their kingdoms.
In addition, the monarch said that such a move would provide the necessary intelligence on persons of questionable character as well as those whose houses were used as havens for hoodlums. He revealed that the council of traditional monarchs had already presented their request to the governor.
Igwe Ugwu added: “This will further empower us to take some measures in securing our kingdoms and the state. For now, there is no law that empowers us as chief security officers of our kingdoms.
“The governor has promised us that the matter will be taken care of during the amendment of the Neighbourhood Watch Law of Enugu State which will soon be presented to the state assembly. For now, our duty is to do all we can within our reasonable positions to make sure that what the government is doing trickles down.”