Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu says the decision by the 17 Southern Nigerian Governors to ban open grazing in the region is irreversible and will be enforced with vigour.
He stated this in reaction to a statement by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who compared the ban on open grazing to a ban on the sale of spare parts.
In an interview with Channels TV on May 19, Malami said that banning of open grazing in the Southern region of the country is same thing as prohibition of spare parts trading in the North.
“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 is 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?”
He added: “If you are talking of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the better approach to it is to perhaps go back to ensure the constitution is 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 on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around.”
Reacting to the statement, Akeredolu said it is most “unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distil issues as expected of a Senior Advocate. Nothing can be more disconcerting.
“It is most unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distil issues as expected of a Senior Advocate. Nothing can be more disconcerting,” Mr Akeredolu said in a statement he personally signed.
He continued, “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 vigour.”
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