Why Security Vote Should Be Given To Traditional Rulers, Not Governors

SIR: The prevailing general insecurity in Nigeria should worry everyone who has the love and interest of this country at heart. Even though the current administration came into power with a promise to stamp out insecurity by doing things differently from what the previous ones had done, things seem to be going from bad to worse as far as security of lives and properties is concerned. From the activities of Boko Haram which has spread from the northeast to other parts of the country, armed bandits who are having a near free reign to the increasing cases of kidnapping across the nation, the fact that something is fundamentally wrong with the way our security architecture is currently structured will continue to dominate security debates and analysis.

Funding has been identified by security experts as the major impediment that had hindered the successful fight against terrorism and general insecurity in Nigeria, even as many have continued to question the fact that all the major security agencies are being controlled by the president instead of the local councils or traditional rulers in whose domain insecurity and activities of criminals actually takes place. The security votes being given to state governors is also at the centre stage of the discussion for the need for the government to channel scarce financial resources to the right place to ensure maximum funding to effectively combat insecurity.

The security votes that governors receive which runs into hundreds of millions of naira is merely a conduit pipe through which the resources of our nation that should have been appropriated for the general good is siphoned by governors who see the fund as freebie rather than money that should be judiciously utilised for the enhancement of security of lives and properties of their states. The fact that nobody, arm or agency of government is saddled with the responsibility of tracking or scrutinizing how governors administer security votes, and the way and manner by which they helplessly “cry” to the federal government for intervention even in mere cases of between two communities makes people to believe that most of them merely divert the funds into private pockets with little or nothing spent to tackle insecurity or maintain security.

Beyond the debate for a constitutional role of our traditional institution in Nigeria, it is a fact that traditional leaders are the closest to the people and have got ample spread and an appreciable level of grip in their various domains. This puts them in better positions to be able to stamp out insecurity if given the mandate and responsibility. Every crime happens within a community, and the traditional leaders are directly in charge and have their roots in every community in Nigeria. Hence, the need for the traditional leaders to constitutionally be given the roles of maintaining the peace and fighting crime in all its forms.

It is said that the beginning of lunacy is doing a thing the same way and expecting a different result. Since many of the state governors haven’t shown enough capacity, seriousness and transparency in administering the security votes they receive monthly, it is high time the legislatures re-channeled the funds by giving it to the traditional leaders instead. Being the custodians of the traditional institution and heritage of their communities and people, it would be easier for them to galvanize and mobilize their subjects to effectively combat insecurity and maintain the peace if given the funds and constitutional mandate. Every community has its unique traditional method of fighting crime; the traditional leaders should be financially and constitutionally empowered to activate their local and traditional crime fighting strategies with the overall aim of complementing the effort of the police and other security agencies.

Hussain Obaro, Ilorin, Kwara State

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