A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has thrown his weight behind southern governors on their stand on open grazing, saying it is in the constitution to place a ban. This is just as he lambasted the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for his comments on open grazing.
Ebun-Olu AdegboruwaAdegboruwa said the AGF does not have the constitutional powers to make a proclamation for the country, reports Vanguard news.
According to the jurist:
“The proponents of open grazing support it with the right to freedom of movement granted under section 41 of the Constitution. This section cannot be interpreted to violate other constitutional provisions, especially section 43 that grants the right to private or public property.
“You cannot deploy the right to movement of person and cattle to violate the right of another citizen to own property, such as land or farmland, or else you become a trespasser. It is in this regard that I disagree with the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation when he said that the ban on open grazing is unconstitutional.
“That cannot represent a proper interpretation of the Constitution, with all due respect. The AGF is a member of the Executive arm of government, under section 5 of the Constitution. The Constitution has not assigned any role to the AGF to make proclamations for the country.
To that extent, his comment is ultra vires, being beyond and outside his office as a Minister. The role of interpreting the Constitution is the exclusive preserve of the Courts under the Constitution,” he said.
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) charged the Houses of Assembly of the states that have proscribed open grazing to go ahead to make laws to support their declarations. “It is only after then that the AGF can approach the court for judicial interpretation.
“I urge the governors to proceed speedily, with the implementation of their lawful and courageous declarations, and not be misled, intimidated, or distracted by the comments from the federal government.
“There is no doubt that we cannot generalise, to say that all “Fulani herdsmen” are guilty of violence and destruction, but we must tackle those criminals who have invaded their ranks, for purposes other than grazing.
Truth is, genuine Fulani herdsmen offer food, dairy, employment, and prosperity for the land and this is desirable. The ban on open grazing is, therefore, necessary to protect the genuine herdsmen and help preserve their vocation from the marauders,” he stated.
It will be recalled that bandits who terrorise communities in Niger opened fire on themselves, leaving 12 dead and several others injured over the weekend in Kaduna. The leader, who is popularly called Mallam Dogogide, had accused his boys of short-changing him after their previous operations.
Dogogide is said to be one of the leaders of the three notorious gangs operating within the areas of Shiroro, Rafi and Munya Local Government Areas in Niger and Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State.