There has been massive outrage across many parts of the country following statements credited to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami who likened the ban of open grazing by southern governors to preventing the sale of spare parts in the north. Malami had  in an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday said that the resolution on open grazing by Southern governors does not align with the constitution, adding that the decision “does not hold water”.

Many Nigerians have taken to the social media to condemn Malami for making statements deemed divisive coming from a top government functionary and the country’s chief law officer. They claim that Malami betrayed the government’s anti Igbo sentiments by his statement as Igbo mostly dominate the spare parts business.

Malami said, “It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?

“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?

“If you are talking of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the better approach to it is to perhaps go back to ensure the constitution is amended.

“Freedom and liberty of movement among others established by the constitution, if by an inch you want to have any compromise over it, the better approach is to go back to the national assembly to say open grazing should be prohibited and see whether you can have the desired support for the constitutional amendment.

“It is a dangerous provision for any governor in Nigeria to think he can bring any compromise on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around.”

Recall that last Tuesday, southern governors met in Asaba, Delta State and resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot.


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