President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday in Abuja called on traditional rulers to preserve cultural values as they made effort to check insecurity in their domains.
Jonathan made the call at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on Culture, Peace and National Security: the Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen in National Security.
The President was represented by Mrs Sarah Pane, Special Adviser to the President on Social Development at the workshop organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).
Jonathan urged traditional rulers to see the current social challenges in the country as a wake up call to their statutory responsibilities.
``The traditional institution and local councils constitute veritable agents of grass roots mobilisation in cultural orientation.
``Tradition rulers who are the custodians of our cultural heritage should see our present social challenges as wake up call to their statutory responsibilities and obligations to the society.
``The Local Government Chairmen must also rise to their roles as the Chief Security Officers of their areas of jurisdiction,’’ Jonathan said.
He pointed out that the cultural diversity of the country should be the source of strength and unity rather than diversion and ethnic strife.
Jonathan stressed the need to rediscover core cultural values that guaranteed mutual respect, adding that the best instrument toward peace and security was the rule of law.
``Let us go back to our root and rediscover our cherished core cultural values that guarantee mutual respect, justice and coexistence,’’ he added.
Earlier, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger advocated for the establishment of constitutional roles for traditional rulers.
Aliyu called for the revival of synergy and effective communication channel that existed between traditional rulers, Local Government Chairmen and the people in their domains.
According to him, the essence of falling back to traditional institution is that they live with the people and they are well respected.
``One of the ways to ensure sanity in our society is to provide constitutional roles for traditional rulers,’’ Aliyu said.
The former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said that dialogue was the way forward in tackling the current security challenges in the country.
Represented by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the former governor of Osun, Obasanjo said that poverty, unemployment, religious intolerance, ethnic rivalry and resource control agitation were responsible for violent conflicts.
He added that the evasion of cultural values, ignorance and negative external influence also contributed to spate of violent crimes in the country.
``Most critical of these factors for me however is ignorance which leads to suspicion and mistrust,’’ Obasanjo said.