BACOLAW Holds Seminar for Traditional Leaders

By Olufemi Ogunleye

The Bola Ajibola College of Law of Crescent University, Abeokuta, has urged traditional rulers in Nigeria to promote codification of the country's cultural laws so as to preserve the customs and traditions of the people.

In a paper entitled “Customary Law and Practice in Nigeria” at a one-day seminar on Law and Diplomacy of traditional rulers and community leaders held at the BACOLAW of the university, Barrister Adekunle Aminu said as potent as customary laws in Nigeria were, they were not documented, instead, they were being disseminated from one generation to the other, which portended extinction in no time.

“Today, establishing a rule of customary law in a court of law requires that it is proved” he said, adding that elders who were versed with the specific aspect of customary law in issue and brought to court to testify, often became prejudiced, distorting the true nature of customary law or give different versions of customary law to the extent that the law seems to be in a confused state.

If this scenario, continues, the legal icon asserted, the future of Nigerian customary law would be become bleak and jeopardized.

Barrister Aminu opined that traditional rulers as custodians of culture and tradition of the people should arrest the situation by ensuring customary law principles are put on the same plane as legislations and other primary sources of Nigerian laws through identification of the fundamental principles that cut across all ethnic divide in the country and codify them.

He stressed that such an action would not only wane down the validity tests to which the colonialists subjected the application of customary law but would allow the law to grow and enhance the much needed stability and unity among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Earlier, welcoming the traditional rulers from Egbaland and other participants to the seminar, the Dean of the College, Professor Gbenga Oduntan said the focus ofthe College in organizing the seminar was to empower the traditional rulers with intellectual capacity to improve relationship with their subjects, effectively manage community crisis and deliver equitable justice.