Benue State House of Assembly has passed the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Council Bill 2015 into law. Highlights of the amended chieftaincy law includes the provision for two paramount rulers, the Och’Idoma and Tor Tiv, to respectively oversee the affairs of the Idoma Traditional Area Council and Tiv Traditional Area Council.
The amendment also gave the prerogative of appointing the Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs to the State Executive Governor.
In addition, the amended law made provision for the creation of 10 first class chiefs to head the 10 Intermediate Traditional Council Areas across the state, 6 for the Tiv Traditional Area Council and 4 for the Idoma Traditional Area Council.
The Intermediate Traditional Council Areas under Idoma Traditional Area Council are: Agatu/Apa head with headquarters in Ugbokpo to be headed by Och’Agatu/Apa, Idoma (West) Enone with headquarters in Okpoga to be headed by Och’Enone. Also, Otukpo/Ohimini with headquarters in Otukpo to be headed by Och’Otukpo/Ohimini and Igede with headquarters in Igede Ariri and headed by Adirahu Ny’Igede.
Under the Tiv Intermediate Traditional Council Area, the law has Jerchira with headquarters in Vandeikya headed by Tor Jerchira, Jemgbagh with headquarters in Gboko headed by Tor Jemgbagh and Kwande with headquarters in Ushongo Town headed by Tor Kwande.
Others are Lobi Intermediate Traditional Council Area with headquarters in Makurdi to be headed by Tor Lobi and Gwer Intermediate Traditional Council Area with headquarters in Aliade headed by Tor Gwer as well as Sankera with headquarters in Katsina-Ala to be headed by Tor Sankera.
Also, the amendment provided for 23 Second Class Chiefs (one for each local government area) and 46 Third Class Chiefs (2 for each local government area).
According to the amended law, the stools of the 2 paramount rulers and those of the other chiefs are to be rotated among the component units that make up the area and whoever must occupy any of the stools must, among other things, be an indigene of the area by descent, be versed in the custom and tradition of the people and must have a Senior Secondary Certificate or its equivalent.
All rulers and chiefs are expected to emerge through the instrumentality of a selection committee which will endeavour that such candidates are products of the people’s consensus agreement. However, in the event of a failure to arrive at a consensus, the process of selection through voting can be adopted.