Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the decision of the Southern governors to ban on open grazing is irreversible.
In a statement on Thursday, Akeredolu, who is.the Chairman of Southern Governors Forum, said the governors will enforce the ban with “vigour.”
The governor was reacting to the criticism of the open grazing ban by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘Politics Today’ on Wednesday, Malami had described the decision to ban open grazing by Southern governors as unconstitutional.
He 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?” the AGF said.
But Akeredolu said the defence of open grazing by the AGF is “wicked and arrogant.”
Akeredolu said the Southern governors are ready to defend the legality of their decision in court.
“I have just read the press statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Shehu Malami,SAN, on the resolution of the Southern Governors Forum to ban open grazing in their respective States. The AGF is quoted to have said that this reasoned decision, among others, is akin to banning all spare parts dealers in the Northern parts of the country and is unconstitutional.
“It is most unfortunate that the AGF is unable to distill issues as expected of a Senior Advocate. Nothing can be more disconcerting. This outburst should, ordinarily, not elicit response from reasonable people who know the distinction between a legitimate business that is not in anyway injurious and a certain predilection for anarchy. Clinging to an anachronistic model of animal husbandry, which is evidently injurious to harmonious relationship between the herders and the farmers as well as the local populace, is wicked and arrogant.
“Comparing this anachronism, which has led to loss of lives, farmlands and property, and engendered untold hardship on the host communities, with buying and selling of auto parts is not only strange. It, annoyingly, betrays a terrible mindset.
“Mr Malami is advised to approach the court to challenge the legality of the Laws of the respective States baning open grazing and decision of the Southern Governors Forum taken in the interest of their people. We shall be most willing to meet him in Court.
“The decision to ban open grazing stays. It will be enforced with vigour,” Akeredolu said.