Governors across 17 states in Nigerian Southern region have faulted Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over his position on the ban placed on open grazing in the entire region, adding that their decision would stand no matter whose ox is gored.
They argued that every stakeholder has the constitutionally guaranteed rights to protect their territorial integrity and their people from internal and external aggression, adding that the ban was within their right irrespective of the country’s set up.
Reacting to Malami’s claim on behalf of the governors, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who doubled as the Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), said that it was worrying the senior advocate could not rise above parochialism in his view as expressed in the comments credited to him.
Through a statement on Thursday, Akeredolu maintained that there was a clear difference between legitimate business and open grazing that had resulted in deaths, continuous communal clashing, and farmers-herders crisis across the region.
According to him, it is most unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distill issues as expected of a Senior Advocate. Nothing can be more disconcerting.
“I have just read the press statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Shehu Malami SAN on the resolution of the Southern Governors Forum to ban open grazing in their respective States. The AGF is quoted to have said that this reasoned decision, among others, is akin to banning all spare parts dealers in the Northern parts of the country and is unconstitutional.
“It is most unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distill issues as expected of a Senior Advocate. Nothing can be more disconcerting. This outburst should, ordinarily, not elicit response from reasonable people who know the distinction between a legitimate business that is not in any way injurious and a certain predilection for anarchy. Clinging to an anachronistic model of animal husbandry, which is evidently injurious to harmonious relationship between the herders and the farmers as well as the local populace, is wicked and arrogant.
“Comparing this anachronism, which has led to loss of lives, farmlands, and property, and engendered untold hardship on the host communities, with buying and selling of auto parts is not only strange. It, annoyingly, betrays a terrible mindset.
“Mr Malami is advised to approach the court to challenge the legality of the Laws of the respective States banning open grazing and decision of the Southern Governor Forum taken in the interest of their people. We shall be most willing to meet him in Court. The decision to ban open grazing stays. It will be enforced with vigor,” the statement said.
The governors had last week banned open grazing across the 17 states in the region and also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the occasion and address Nigerians on rising insecurity across the country, outlines plans and strategies being adopted by his administration to end issues bordering on the menace.
They argued that such an address by the president would lift spirit of Nigerians and restore the confidence of the already apprehensive people that the government was indeed working to bring a lasting solution to insecurity.
They also maintained that the continued silence on part of the president was been misconstrued by Nigerians to have been fueling rising insecurity and emboldening terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities across the country such that had turned the nation into a killing field.