The Benue House of Assembly over the weekend passed the State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils bill into law at its plenary session in Makurdi.
The House through the Speaker, Terhile Ayua, resolved that the Och’Idoma and Tor Tiv would be the chairmen of the Idoma and Tiv traditional councils respectively.
The new bill provides for the rotation of chairmanship of the council between the two paramount rulers in the state and the composition of electoral colleges for the selection of all classes of chiefs in all the chiefdoms.
The bill also guarantees the creation of a separate and independent agency to control funds meant for the traditional councils instead of domiciling the funds at the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The chairman, House Committee on Local Government, Security and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Iyo, while commenting on the bill, noted that the proposed enlarged structure of the traditional institution would find the three per cent funds accruable from the accounts of local governments inadequate to meet its needs.
He therefore stressed the need for counterpart funding of at least 15 per cent from the state’s consolidated account to beef up the funds.
The new law empowers the state government to create 10 intermediate area traditional councils which include; Jechira, Jemgbagh, Kwande, Sankera, Gwer and Lobi for the Tiv people and Igede, Idoma Enone, Agatu/Apa and Otukpo/Ohimini for the Idoma.
The occupants of the various stools will be required to assist in maintaining law and order in their respective areas, according to the speaker while the governor of the state shall appoint an acting Tor Tiv or Och’Idoma who must be a second class chief when a vacuum is created either by death, resignation or deposition.