Respected investment banker and founder of Stanbic IBTC, Atedo Peterside has slammed Abubakar Malami, Buhari’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice for being “disingenuous” in his comparison of open grazing with freedom of movement.
The Attorney General had, on Wednesday, declared as unconstitutional, the decision of the 17 southern governors to ban open grazing of animals in their states.
“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?”
Malami, a northern Fulani Muslim said this on Channels Television’s Politics Today Programme on Wednesday. He said the governors’ declaration “does not align with the provisions of the Constitution, hence it does not hold water.”
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?
He, however, advised the governors to work towards the amendment of the 1999 Constitution in their move to prohibit open grazing.
“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 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,” he said.
Reacting via his Twitter handle, Mr. Peterside said, “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”.