The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that the unanimous decision to ban open grazing by southern governors is unconstitutional.
Malami, who disclosed this on Channels Television’s Politics Today Programme, said the decision of the governors “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?
“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?”
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 going 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.
Meanwhile, 17 southern governors from the southern Nigeria extraction had, on May 11, resolved to ban open grazing of cattle in their respective states.