By David Royal
The statement by Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Southern governor’s decision to ban open grazing has attracted backlashes from Nigerians as many found it offensive.
You would recall that the southern governors resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta state last week Tuesday.
Commenting on this, Malami Wednesday in a live interview with Channels Television stated that the resolve to ban open grazing by southern governors is equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the north saying that the decision does not align with the provisions of the constitution.
According to Malami, 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.
“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?”
“If you are talking of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the better approach to it is to perhaps go back to ensure the constitution is amended,” he said.
“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.”
Some Nigerians kicked against Malami’s statement, saying it’s tribalistic and should never have been said by Attorney General of the Federation.
Entrepreneur, Investment banker, and Economist. Atedo Peterside on Twitter said:
@AtedoPeterside “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
“If true, my faith has been further restored. We can surmount almost all our problems; including those perpetrated against Nigeria by evil persons supporting Boko Haram #GoNigeria”
@yelesowore “The definition of malignant idiocy is what Abubakar Malami @MalamiSan is, they can’t hide it that they hate the tribe that sells “spare parts” and I ask what has spare parts got to do with this national emergency? #RevolutionNow #BuhariMustGo”
@SodiqTade” I can’t imagine the level of thinking of AG Malami for him to have compared those selling spare parts in the North to the banned roaming ‘bandits’. False equivalence, and I won’t blame Seun because such statement tends reduce your IQ immediately as the first-hand receiver.”
@AfamDeluxo “The only reason Malami mentioned “Spare parts” in his interview is because Igbos are soft targets in Nigeria. Of all the businesses in Nigeria, it was only spare parts that crossed his mind. These are the people some Southerners believe they can convince by blowing big grammar..”
@Mrpossidez “Malami cannot dictate what state houses of assembly can do or cannot do. State Houses of Assembly are creations of the constitution and their constitutional powers and functions are set out in the constitution.”
@ChiefAmebo “Open grazing and selling spare parts aren’t the same thing. Malami shouldn’t be caught making this kind of comparison ffgs”
@chosensomto “AGF Malami deliberately put a target on spare parts dealers in the North. He did not “misyarn”.
@olaitankuzem “God knows the kind of advice Malami gives to Buhari. Encroachment differs from carrying out business under extant law of a particular state. SAN Weary face”
@chosensomto “Southern Governors did not ban Fulani herders from operating their cattle business in the South, they banned OPEN GRAZING and transportation of cattle on foot, to avoid trespassing into people’s farm land. These are progressive resolutions even for the herders.”
@FemiOjosu “Omo… Buhari really missed road on this Malami’s appointment ó. Attorney General of the Federation being tribal and partisan on an issue that affects the whole nation. I’m not surprised sha. That is the quality of this government. Scratch that, Regime.”
@MrOshotee “Wait! Govs can start devolution of power from their states,but can’t bam open grazing?They need NASS to look in2 d constitution of free movements?These guys are foolish.Since 2015,we’ve bin on Cow Cow?How do we move forward?Does spare parts destroy farm land?”
@RBiakpara “Trying to analyse ineptitude and intentional bias is an exercise in futility. He’s got the backing of the president however terribly he performs.
“Pantami or Malami, it’s all the same even if they are spelt differently. That’s their heart speaking & they are convinced 100%.”