Atedo Peterside, President and Founder Anap Foundation has hit out at the Nigerian Minister of Justice and Attorney-general of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami for his objection to the ban by the country’s Southern governors on open grazing.
Mr Malami on Wednesday likened the ban on open grazing in the southern region of Nigeria to the constitutional right of free movement of citizens.
The AGF also compared the ban on open grazing to Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region as Southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
But Mr Peterside on Thursday in a tweet said it was hypocritical of Mr Malami to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons.
“It is disingenuous to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons. The latter does not extend to the free movement of cattle, goats, sheep etc through farms with the attendant destruction of somebody’s harvest,” Mr Peterside, founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank said.
Nigeria’s southern governors had last week in Asaba, the Delta State capital, resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot in the region.
They were of the opinion that some kidnappings and killings in the region have been traced to criminal elements amongst herders.
But according to Malami, “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 maybe 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?”
“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,” the minister said when he was interviewed by a local media.