GOVERNOR of Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu says a statement attributed to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, which criticised ban on open grazing by the Southern governors of the country, is annoying and betrays a terrible mindset.
Akeredolu, who is also the chairman of the South-West Governors Forum, said in a statement on Thursday that it was most unfortunate that the AGF could not distil issues as expected of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Malami had, during his appearance on Channels Television on Wednesday, described the resolution of the southern governors to ban open grazing as unconstitutional.
He had said the decision to ban open grazing in the region was equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the northern part of the country.
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?” Malami had said.
“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?”
However, Akeredolu has criticised the comments, saying that nothing could be more disconcerting.
The governor noted that Malami’s outburst should, ordinarily, not elicit a response from reasonable people who knew the distinction between a legitimate business that was not in any way injurious and a certain predilection for anarchy.
“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'” he said.
“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.”
While stating that the ban had come to stay and would be vigorously enforced, Akeredolu advised Malami to approach the court to challenge the legality of the respective states’ laws banning open grazing and the decision of the governors taken in the interest of their people.