By Idowu Bankole
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Mr Abubakar Malami has warned that it is dangerous for any governor to stop the freedom and liberty of Movement of Persons in Nigeria as guaranteed in the 1999 constitution.
Abubakar Malami was reacting on Channels Televison Politics programme, Politcs Today, to a recent meeting by the Southern Governors where they had adopted resolution to ban Open Grazing in the southern region of Nigeria.
The Southern Governors had taken the decison after series of crimanal activties had bedeviled the region owing to the activites of armed herdmen in the region.
Malami questions the constitutionality of the decison of the Southern governors and urged them to seek constition amendment before implementing their resolution.
“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.
Malami insists that the action of thenSouthern Governor in Asaba does not hold water amd it is tantamount to banning 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?”
Malami asked the southern governors to facilitate the amendment of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to prohibit open grazing.
“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 goes 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.”