Reactions continued to trail the remarks attributed to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the ban of open grazing by Southern States governors at their meeting held last week in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The AGF has likened the open grazing by herdsmen in the South to spare parts business dominated by Southerners in the North.
Senator representing Abia South and Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, described the statement as divisive.
Abaribe in a statement said there was no correlation between the murderous activities of the herdsmen and spare parts sellers who rent apartments to ply their trade.
He said: “While the local ‘bureau de change’ business mostly done by the Fulanis are operating in all parts of Nigeria, why have they not elicited any resentment of other Nigerians?
“It is simply because they live and do their business peacefully without any problem. It is the murderous activities of Fulani herders that have given rise to the current demand for laws that will bring about peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.
“What’s the correlation between spare parts sellers in a rented shop or government properly designated area and marauding Fulani herders destroying farms, killing and raping thus trampling on people’s private properties and means of livelihood? Such a divisive statement from a top federal government official, in fact, the chief legal adviser to the federal government at that, exposes a very dangerous mindset. This disposition has no doubt raised the tension in Nigeria to a frightening level.
“Why should an attorney general of the federation be so fixated in evoking ethnic/regional fault lines when duty calls for him to be a statesman. It is disheartening that Mr Abubakar Malami has chosen to debase our country. He has indeed questioned Nigeria’s unity. Very unfortunate.”
In a separate statement, the senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Dr Ajibola Basiru dismissed Malami’s comments as debasing.
“It was not dignifying of the status of the nation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice to make such remarks.”
The senator said equating the activities of archaic nomadic herdsmen destroying peoples means of livelihood with others legitimately carrying on businesses by selling spare parts in their shops stand logic on its head.
He noted that perhaps, the AGF forgot that Nigeria is a federal system with the states government empowered to make and implement laws for the peace, order and good government of or any part of their respective state.
“This power is derived from the constitution, which with the Land Use Act, vested on the governors the management of all land within the territory of the state.”
He further challenged the AGF to cite relevant sections of the constitution which allowed the herders to trespass on other people’s land and destroy the crops in the guise of freedom of movement, adding that AGF’s comment is less than patriotic.
“This kind of statements has made Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations and in fact they ridicule the administration of President Buhari.
“These statements are not giving hope to those at the receiving end of the activities of the herdsmen.”
Credit: Nigerian Tribune