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updated 5:53 AM UTC, May 23, 2022

Akeredolu, Peterside, Umahi & Others Denounce Malami’s Support For Open Grazing Of Cattle

Unic Press UK: The views expressed by Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has been overwhelmingly condemned by several eminent Nigerians.

During a TV interview conducted by Channel News, Nigeria, Malami promoted open grazing of cattle and other kinds of livestock, despite the executive position of the Southern Governors Forum that open grazing in any part of the Southern region (South East, South West, and South South) is prohibited/banned with immediate effect.

Malami’s views that seem roundly unpopular due to the incessant destruction of lives, farmlands and properties by nomads of Fulani extraction in the course of open grazing reads: “It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our Constitution, enshrined 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 that 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? 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 is 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”

Nigerians react, condemning Malami’s argument and denouncing the continuation of open grazing of cattle.

Rotimi Akeredolu, the Ondo State Governor: “It is most unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distil 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”

Atedo Peterside, the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Co-chair Agenda 2050 Steering Committee: “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”

Dave Umahi, the Ebonyi State Governor: “In the South, we don’t have cattle routes but in the North they have, so nobody is going to say ‘let’s ban open grazing in some areas in North where there are cattle routes the way they move constitutionally from one point to the other. But in the South there are no cattle routes. For you to move with your cattle from one point to the other, you have to move through farms, you have to move through population dense areas and this is not very good. And that’s of course what the Southern governors and in particular the South East are saying, ‘let’s go back to our traditional method of relationship. We will no longer allow you to take your cattle from one local government to the other. And the implication is that these foreign herders also come in terms of mobile herders with AK-47. So anybody that says there should be no ban on open grazing is on the other hand saying that these killings should continue and that’s what gave birth to ESN whether we support it as Governors. We don’t. But the people tend to support it [ESN] because of the foreign herders that pretend to be rearing cattle and they’re killing people. In my own village, a white man was kidnapped by these foreign herders while doing construction. And we’ve encouraged the Federal Government, let’s treat this cattle rearing as businesses. Take money from the Federation account and develop ranches where there are designated ranches, especially in the North and the northern governors are willing but it’s being frustrated”

Dr. Ajibola Basiru, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for Osun State and the Senator representing Osun Central senatorial district: “It was not dignifying of the status of the nation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice to make such remarks. These kind of statements has made Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of Nations and fact they ridicule the Administration of President Buhari. These statements are not giving hope to those at the receiving end of the activities of the herdsmen” By virtue of the Land Use Act, the State Governors are vested with powers to manage all land in each state of the Federation, says Basiru.


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