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A’Ibom proposes bill to upgrade traditional rulers’ status


Akwa Ibom State Governor Umo Eno has presented an executive bill to the House of Assembly to restore the diminishing dignity and respect accorded to traditional rulers in the state.

This bill seeks to amend specific sections of the Traditional Rulers’ Law, Cap. 155, Laws Of Akwa Ibom State, 2022, with the aim of granting traditional rulers a new status comparable to the northern Emirs, Obas, Oonis of the South-West, Obi of the Southeast, and the Obong of Calabar.

The proposed legislation has received positive responses from key stakeholders in the state.

Hon Frank Archibong, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, confirmed the development, describing it as a pivotal decision that will dignify and elevate the status of traditional rulers in the state.

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He stated “It is of huge importance for the State Assembly to give accelerated process for the bill to be passed into law in order to redefine the status of the traditional rulers in order to accord them the respect deserving of their positions as custodians of our cultural heritage,”

Archibong emphasized the essential role that the traditional institution has played in the state’s development over the years.

He expressed these sentiments while presenting the ministry’s position during a public hearing organized by the House Committee for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

The committee is chaired by Hon Mfon Idung, the representative of Ika/Etim Ekpo state constituency.

The commissioner stressed the importance of fast-tracking the bill’s passage into law to redefine the status of traditional rulers and accord them the respect they deserve as custodians of the state’s cultural heritage.

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He drew attention to the fact that traditional rulers in other regions, such as the Oni of Ife, Obi of Onitsha, Obong of Calabar, and Emir of Kano, receive unquestionable respect, unlike their counterparts in Akwa Ibom State.

“For instance, the Oni of Ife, Obi of Onitsha, Obong of Calabar and Emir of Kano, are given absolute respect, which is not the case in Akwa Ibom State. This bill if passed into law, will place our traditional rulers on an equal pedestal with others. It will help reduce conflict, guarantee peace, and accord them royal prominence and deserving respect as it is practiced in other societies,” stated Archibong.

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Chairman of the committee, Hon Idung, emphasized the pivotal role of the traditional institutions as custodians of heritage and traditions in society.

He clarified that the bill, an executive initiative transmitted to the legislature, aims to establish a legal framework that recognizes and respects the traditional institutions in the state.

Representing the chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council (TRC), the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, who was represented by the paramount ruler of Onna, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Raymond Timothy Inyang, noted that the chairmanship of the council would be rotated.