Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the Federal Government has engaged traditional rulers in the Middle Belt to address the killings in the region and chart a new and collective course of understanding.
He stated that the traditional institutions played a crucial role in the peace process in the Niger Delta and the South-East geopolitical zones in the wake of secessionist agitation by some Igbo youths.
Addressing the 10th National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers with the theme, “Make Nigeria great again,” in Abuja on Wednesday, the VP appealed to the traditional rulers to deepen partnership with the government to achieve peace and security in the country.
He said the partnership between traditional authorities and the government was crucial at a time the country was witnessing increased killings and violent attacks.
He said, “A great deal of emphasis is often placed on the role of law enforcement agencies in maintaining peace and security. They are critical elements in determining criminalities and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.
“But if we over-focus on law enforcement and overlook the place of the non-coercive conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms, then we are doing ourselves and the people of Nigeria a great disservice.”
According to him, traditional leaders have the capacity to champion the continuous dialogue and engagement because of the respect they command from stakeholders and parties across the country.
“This is important because we cannot ignore the fundamentals of our society which are the traditional institutions, if we hope to govern well and peacefully,” he added.
Earlier in his address, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom in Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Sideso, expressed concern that traditional rulers had not done their best in giving civic education to their subjects.
As the general elections draw closer, Sideso, who is also the chairman of the Summit Governing Council, urged traditional institutions to enlighten their subjects on the need to vote in all elections.