Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has berated the Attorney General of the Federation who doubles as the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over his opposition to the Southern governors decision to ban open grazing.
Abubakar Malami, had stated that the decision to ban open grazing is synonymous to banning the sale of spare parts.
According to him, banning of open grazing in Southern region of the country is the same thing as prohibition of spare parts trading in the North.
Malami made the claim during an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, May 19. The AGF persistent that the ban of open grazing and movement of cattle by foot by Southern governors after a meeting in Asaba, does not align with the provision of the constitution.
” It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?
For example it as good as saying perhaps, maybe, the northern governors coming together to say they prohibit spare parts trading in the north.
Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the north?
In his words to the Southern Governors, Malami admonished them bto facilitate the amendment of the 1999 constitution to prohibit open grazing.
He had said:
“If you are talking of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the better approach to it is to perhaps go back to ensure the constitutionis amended.
Freedom and liberty of movement among others established by the constitution. If by an inch you want to have any compromise over it, the better approach is go back to the national assembly to say open grazing should be prohibited and see whether you can have the desired support for the constitutional amendment.
It is a dangerous provision for any governor in Nigeria to think he can bring any compromise to the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around”.
Reacting to his statement, Gov Akeredolu reaffirmed that the Southern governors decision against open grazing is irrevocable.
In a statement he personally signed and issued in Akure, the governor stated that it was unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distill issues as expected of a Senior Advocate.
His statement reads;
“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 u fortunate 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 knows the distinction between a legitimate business that is not in anyway injuriousand a certain prediction 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 endangered untold hardship on the host communities, with buying and selling if auto parts is not only strange. It is annoyingly, betrays a terrible mindset.
Mr Malami is thereby advisable to approach the court to challenge the legality of the Laws of the respective States baning 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 vigour”.