The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has knocked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for comparing the ban placed on open grazing in the Southern part of the country to Northern governors deciding to ban spare parts.
He described Malami’s comments as “unfortunate and wicked”, advising him however to challenge the governor’s position on open grazing in court, if he felt it is unconstitutional as he claimed.
The Southern Governors had recently after a meeting in Asaba announced the banning of open grazing in their region and asked the President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over worsening insecurity.
But Mr. Malami argued, as a guest on Channels Television on Wednesday, that the governors had no right to ban open grazing. According to him, freedom of movement of all Nigerians was a constitutionally guaranteed right.
But responding, Governor Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum, said in a statement he personally signed on Thursday that ‘our decision is irreversible and will be enforced’.
The statement read partly, “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 anyway 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 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.”