Describe the functions of the age grades in the pre-Colonial administration in Nigeria

The age
grades was one of the main political institutions of
pre-colonial societies. They
performed a lot of functions which
are listed below. 

  • Defence:
    The age – grades served as members of the armed forces. Among their duties was to defend their communities against attack both from within and outside their societies. They were militant in carrying out
    their duties.
  • Public work: Members of the age grades
    participated actively in carrying out community
    work-such as construction  
    of   path   roads,  
    maintenance   of   good environment,
    building of markets, building of community hall, clearing of meant for public use. 
  • Security
    functions: The various pre-colonial communities ensured proper maintenance of law and order.
    The age grades served as thecommunities
    police. They carried out investigation on criminal activities, made arrest and
    punish offenders. 
  • Socialization function: Apart from the
    functions above, age-grades also carried
    socialization functions. They educated
    their members about their duties and obligations to
    their community. They organized awareness programmes for themselves and the community in general,  
  • Prevent
    abuse of power: As an important political institution in the
    society, age grades acted as checks agains. abuse of power or office by
    traditional chiefs and council of elders.
    This was done to prevent tyranny in the community.
  •  Implementation of policies: As an
    important organ of pre-colonial societies,
    age grades assisted in the implementation
    of policies and decisions made by the council of elders.
  • Ceremonial
    functions: Age grades also carried out ceremonial activities organized by the community. 
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