Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has laid down the gauntlet and challenged the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Shehu Malami to go to court if he is unsatisfied with the decision of the states in the Southern part of the country to ban open grazing of cattle in their respective states.
Southern governors had risen in a meeting on May 11, resolving to ban the open grazing of cattle in their states following the crisis that has bedeviled the country from frequent clashes between farmers and the cattle rearers who have been responsible for massive destruction of farmlands, lives and properties.
But the Attorney-General had challenged the decision, saying it was unconstitutional for the governors to infringe on the herdsmen’s fundamental human rights of free movement across the country, with a poser on how southerners would react if they, too, were banned from selling their spare-parts in the north.
Akeredolu, the spokesman for the Southern Governors’ Forum had then responded in a widely circulated statement Friday that the decision to end the indiscriminate open grazing activities of the herdsmen was necessitated by unwholesome damages they have continued to inflict on host communities in the region.
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He argued that clinging to an anachronistic model of cattle grazing had become quite injurious to harmonious relationship between the farmers, herders and local populace.
“The AGF is quoted to have said that this reasoned decision (banning of open grazing), among others, is akin to banning all spare parts dealers in the Northern part of the country and is unconstitutional,” Akeredolu began in his response.
“It is 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 any way injurious and a certain predilection for anarchy,” he added.
The governor who was a former NBA president had been particularly irked by Malami’s attempt to diminish the substance of the governors’ stance on open grazing by equating it with the legitimate business of spare parts selling in the northern part of the country by southerners, saying it was “wicked and betrayed a terrible mindset.”
“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,” he blasted.
The governor therefore concluded by asking Malami to go court of competent jurisdiction in the country to seek redress.
“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 Governors’ 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,” he added.
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