GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has lashed out at the attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami for comparing the ban on open grazing by southern governors to banning all spare parts trading across northern Nigeria.
Earlier this month, the Southern Governors Forum met in the Delta State capital Asaba where among other things, they agreed to ban grazing, called for the restructuring of the country and lent their support to the idea of state police forces. While the measures were broadly welcomed by civil society groups, several prominent northern politicians like senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan, Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Abdullahi Adamu have opposed the proposals.
Mr Malami upped the ante earlier this week by saying the vote against open grazing was an attack on the livelihoods of northerners. He added that preventing them from roaming around the countryside with their livestock was similar to preventing Igbo retailers from selling their automobile spare parts across northern Nigeria.
In response, Governor Akeredolu, the chairman of the South West Governors Forum, said: “It is most unfortunate that the attorney-general of the federation is unable to distil issues as expected of a senior advocate. The attorney-general 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.
“Yes, governors can ban open grazing. 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 a 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.”