Many Nigerians have reacted angrily to a statement by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in reference the ban on open grazing by Southern governors.
According to the AGF, open grazing ban is the same thing as Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region considering the fact that Southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
Malami spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by VANTAGE NEWS.
Recall that about 17 southern governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital last week, and resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region as some kidnappings and killings in the Southern region have been traced to criminal elements amongst herders.
While calling for the restructuring of the country along fiscal federalism, devolution of powers and state policing, the governors also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation and convoke a national dialogue to address widespread agitations amongst various groups in the region.
But the governors’ resolution also known as the Asaba Accord has not sat well with many, especially in Northern Nigeria, as many including Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; and Senators Ali Ndume from Borno South Senatorial District, amongst others have continued to criticise it.
Also speaking on the ban on Wednesday, Malami described it as an illegality.
He said, “It is about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? It is as good as saying may be 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?”
Speaking further, the minister said, “If you are talking of a constitutionally guaranteed right, the better approach to it is perhaps to go back and ensure that the constitution is amended. The freedom and liberty of movement, amongst others is established by the constitution.
“If by an inch, you want to have any compromise, the better approach is to go back to the National Assembly for open grazing to be prohibited and see whether you can have the desired support for the constitutional amendment in that respect but it is a very dangerous position for any governor in Nigeria to think that he can bring about any compromise on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around.”
However, Malami’s statement has attracted wide condemnation from Nigerians, especially on social media. See some comments below:
How the Attorney General can compare killer Fulani herdsmen to law-abiding spare part dealers beats me. The former are bloodthirsty terrorists who have nothing to offer but death and desteuction whilst the latter are peace-loving men and women who are providing a vital service.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) May 20, 2021
The comment by @MBuhari’s Attorney General, @MalamiSan, that banning open grazing is like banning spare parts trading, shows this regime is fully behind killer herdsmen. If Northern states can ban beer and pig farming, Southern states can ban open grazing #HarassBuhariOutofParis
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) May 20, 2021
Dear Malami SAN, Igbo traders selling spare parts in the North rent or build their shops; they don't carry arms around & cause unrest. Since open grazing has proven unworkable, advise herdsmen to obtain lands to rear their cattle bcos southern farms want peace and progress.
— FS Yusuf (@FS_Yusuf_) May 20, 2021
So governors cannot ban open grazing in their states to protect citizens from killer herdsmen..To quote Malami 'it is like banning the sale of spare parts'..But other governors are free to ban the sale of alcohol in their states?.The clowns we have handed Nigeria to..God help us.
— Umar Sa'ad Hassan🇳🇬 (@Alaye_100) May 20, 2021
Why the southerners are suprise at malami interview is that they don't understand the northerners…average northern politicians is loyal to north and not Nigeria, while average south politicians are loyal to Nigeria and not south..
— Igbo-Fulani girl🍥🇳🇬 (@FulaniIgbo) May 20, 2021
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..
— Unu Amaro Kam Siri Kwado (@AfamDeluxo) May 20, 2021
Southern Governors need to simply ask Malami to tell all of us if they are finally tired of this one Nigeria sham, lets find how to do the needful peacefully. No need to exchange too many words, totally unnecessary.
— harrison okoro (@harrisonokoro5) May 20, 2021
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is comparing open grazing biz where Herdsmen move around people’s land with cows, to Spare Part trading. I really do not know where he got his law degree from. His sense of law and logic is notoriously poor. Babu sense! pic.twitter.com/JAR2PPMAAW
— Jackson Ude (@jacksonpbn) May 20, 2021