By Ovie Okpare
The governors of the southern states of Nigeria on Thursday carpeted the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over his comment on the ban on open grazing of cattle in the zone.
They said the unanimous decision reached at the meeting of the governors in Asaba, Delta State capital, on open grazing will be enforced in the region.
Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, faulted the position of the minister, declaring that, “The decision to ban open grazing stays. It will be enforced with vigour.”
Recall that Southern Governors had at a meeting in Asaba last week banned open grazing as well as demanded President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on the worsening security in the country.
Malami, who however, appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday condemned action of the governors, saying that they lack such power within the Nigerian constitution to ban open grazing.
But Akeredolu, reacting to Malami’s interview, said, “I have just read the press statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar 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.
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“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.”