Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has berated the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), over his statement where he described the decision of the southern governors to ban open grazing unconstitutional.
Falana in his argument stated that the constitution of Nigeria only grants freedom of movement to Nigerians, adding that there is no recognition for animals in the constitution.
Malami had criticised the southern governors over their decision to ban open grazing in all the 17 states of the South to stop the incessant farmers-herders’ clashes.
But the AGF argued that the decision of the Governors violates the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?,” Malami had stated.
However, Falana in his reaction lampooned the AGF for wrongly asserting that the constitution of Nigeria allows animals to move freely in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by Falana on Thursday.
The human rights lawyer further urged the AGF and Minister of Justice to watch his utterances, adding that he should “stand up for social justice and unity of Nigeria in the interest of all as required of him in accordance with his oath of office under the 1999 Constitution.”
The statement partly reads, “With respect, the ban on open grazing has not affected the rights of herders to move freely and acquire land in any state for the establishment of ranches in line with the provisions of sections 41 and 43 of the constitution.
“Since the constitution does not cover the right of animals to move freely and destroy farmlands it is grossly misleading to give the impression that the ban on open grazing has abrogated the right of herders to carry out their business.
“Malami should be reminded that he is the AGF and Minister of Justice of Nigeria. So, in making statements he should always regard the sensibilities of every part of the country and respect all legitimate interests of the entire people of the country. Mr. Malami should please stand up for social justice and unity of Nigeria in the interest of all as required of him in accordance with his oath of office under the 1999 Constitution.”