Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has warned traditional rulers in the state not to be involved in partisan politics, saying such will be an aberration and desecration of the traditional institution.
The governor handed down the warning in his speech on Saturday shortly after he presented the staff of office to the 12th Emir of Katagum Emirate, in the Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, Alhaji Umar Faruk II.
He stressed the need for traditional rulers across the state to mobilise their people to support programmes such as increased food production, internal revenue generation, and enrolment and retention of children in schools in the state.
“Urging traditional rulers to mobilise the citizens to support the government policies and programmes does not mean that they should engage in partisan politics. Traditional rulers (should) under no circumstances (be) involved in partisan politics.
“They should maintain their integrity as fathers and custodians of the customs and traditions of their people because every political party is their (traditional rulers’) own and none belongs to them.
“The involvement of traditional rulers in partisan politics under any guise is not only an aberration but a desecration of our traditional institutions and that would not be taken lightly by anybody,” he stated.
Mohammed said he had been receiving reports that some traditional rulers in the state were involved in shoddy practices with the grazing, forest reserves and cattle routes in the state. He warned that he would not spare anyone found wanting.
He said, “I have been receiving reports of some traditional rulers being involved in the unauthorised encroachment of grazing reserves, forest reserves and cattle routes by their subjects. This is in spite of the acceptance by the government of the recommendations of a committee on how to stop such nefarious activities and the directives for the implementation of the committee’s recommendations.
“Let me warn that any traditional ruler or official of the state and local government found involved in such malpractices will not be spared (in order) to ensure (that) extant laws of the land use act are strictly adhered to and to ensure harmonious relationship between farmers and herders.”
On security, the governor assured that he was totally committed to the protection of the lives and properties of the people across the state.
Mohammed said, “I want to reiterate the irrevocable commitment of the Bauchi State government to the protection of lives and properties of the people. The state government will not fold its arms and watch some people cause confusion and disorder in any guise.
“I appeal to the good people of Bauchi State to continue to support and cooperate with the government and the traditional institutions in their efforts to provide dividends of democracy. They should continue to live harmoniously with one another irrespective of their ethnic, political or religious differences.
“Our traditional rulers should activate the traditional security system whereby strangers or suspicious movements are reported to them and they will in turn conduct investigations to ascertain the motives of the strangers or the suspicious movements so that insecurity can be nipped in the bud.
“I want to say without fear of contradiction, that my elder brother has been doing that and is even going beyond that because he goes out to ensure that he nips all these insecurities in the bud. The people should be sensitised to cooperate and provide useful information to security agents to curb actions capable of disrupting peaceful coexistence.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that traditional rulers at all levels would be held responsible for any breach of peace in their various jurisdictions. Besides the maintenance of law and order, traditional rulers also educate and enlighten their people on government policies and programmes so that the people will appreciate and support the efforts being made by the government towards the upliftment of their well-being.
“I will, therefore, call on all traditional rulers to emulate you, Your Royal Highness, and continue to work towards peace, unity and development of their jurisdiction. They should continue to ensure the continuous maintenance of law and order in their various domains.”
Earlier in his acceptance speech, the newly installed Emir expressed his commitment towards reducing the high out-of-school children in his Emirate and by extension, the state.
“The year 2023 also marks the centenary of the first primary school established in the Emirate. This milestone will accord us a wonderful opportunity to renew our commitment to address the menace of out-of-school children as part of our contribution and to offer advice to the Bauchi State government.
“The year 2023 is also significant because of the forthcoming elections. I advise people to avoid violence and have a peaceful conduct of our elections,” he advised.