Attorney-General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has come under fire for saying the resolve to ban open grazing by southern governors is equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the north.
The Nation had reported last week that 17 southern governors resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta state.
But Malami during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today Programme on Wednesday faulted the decision of the southern governors, saying it does not align with the provisions of the constitution.
The Attorney-General said the decision “does not hold water” in the context of human rights as enshrined in the constitution.
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?” he queried.
Malami asked the southern governors to facilitate the amendment of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to prohibit open grazing.
Reacting, the founder of Stanbic IBTC and Anap Foundation, Atedo Peterside, said linking the resolution to ban open grazing in the south with the right to free movement of persons is “disingenuous”.
Peterside, via a tweet, on Thursday, said freedom of movement of persons does not extend to cattle.
“It is disingenuous to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons,
“The latter does not extend to the free movement of cattle, goats, sheep etc through farms with the attendant destruction of somebody’s harvest.”
Former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, tackled the AGF saying “Of the many misadventures that define the regime of @Mbuhari, his Attorney-General, @MalamiSan, takes the cake.
“He is a special piece of willful nuisance. It takes considered intent to be so illiterate as Attorney-General.”
Also, an ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, slammed the Attorney-General saying he didn’t condemn the confiscation of millions of bottles of beer destroyed in the north but was swift to condemn open grazing ban pronounced by Southern governors last week.
“If Nigerians can’t do open grazing of pigs in the North, then local and foreign herdsmen can’t do open grazing of cows in the South. You should not condemn one without condemning the other, except you mean Southerners are second class citizens!” Omokri tweeted
Former Aviation Minister and Peoples Democratic Party’s chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode said, “How the Attorney General can compare killer Fulani herdsmen to law-abiding spare part dealers beats me.
“The former are bloodthirsty terrorists who have nothing to offer but death and destruction whilst the latter are peace-loving men and women who are providing a vital service.”