Governor of Ondo State and chairman of Southern governors forum, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has described the opposition of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to the ban placed on open grazing in the Southern part of the country as very unfortunate, and not expected of someone who bears the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Malami had appeared as a guest on Channels Television on Wednesday, where he faulted the decision of Southern governors to ban open grazing during their meeting in Asaba last week, describing it as unconstitutional and an infringement on the herders right to freedom of movement, which according to him, cannot stand.
Malami went on to compare open grazing to spare parts business, noting that Northern governors might as well ban spare parts dealers from operating in the North.
But responding to his position in a statement on Thursday, Akeredolu maintained that the ban was sacrosanct, adding that Malami’s comparison of open grazing with the selling of spare parts is annoying.
“I have just read the press statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Shehu Malami SAN on the resolution of the Southern Governors Forum to ban open grazing in their respective States,” he said.
“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.
“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 a response from reasonable people who know the distinction between a legitimate business that is not in any way injurious and a certain predilection for anarchy.
“Clinging to an anachronistic model of animal husbandry, which is evidently injurious to the 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 the 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 banning 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.