BY QUADRI SALIU
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has urged northern governors to reciprocate the Southerner’s ban on open grazing by applying the law of reciprocity, banning spare pasts trade in the North too.
Seventeen southern governors had last week met in Asaba, Delta State where a resolution was passed to ban open grazing due to incessant reports of insecurity believed to be perpetrated by the herdsmen. The governors, therefore, resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region.
Malami, who criticised the Southern governors for banning open grazing in the region, said an open grazing ban is the same thing as Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region.
According to him, the Southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
Malami made his position known on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today.
Malami said: “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.
“If by an inch, you want to have any compromise, the better approach is to go back to the National Assembly for open grazing to be prohibited and see whether you can have the desired support for the constitutional amendment in that respect but it is a very dangerous position for any governor in Nigeria to think that he can bring about any compromise on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around.”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; and Senators Ali Ndume from Borno South Senatorial District, amongst others had earlier criticised the southern governors’ ban on open grazing.