Sowore, Odinkalu, Other Nigerians React As AGF, Malami Compares Open Grazing In South To Selling Spare Parts In North

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Eminent Nigerians have reacted to the comment credited to the Attorney-General of Federation, Abubakar Malami for comparing open grazing of cattle in the South to dealing in spare parts in the North.

The Minister of Justice’s remarks were labelled insensitive, idiotic and barbaric, among other adjectives used by Nigerians to describe his comments.



Malami, Wednesday, on Channels TV programme criticised the Southern Governors’ Forum resolution to place a ban on open grazing which is largely practised by nomadic Fulani.

The governors from Southern Nigeria made the call last Tuesday as an important step to curb insecurity in their respective states.

Malami, however, disagreed with the decision of the governors.
 
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?” he queried.
 
“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.
 
“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 go 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,” Malami said.
 
Reacting to the AGF’s comments on Twitter, a former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) said, “The definition of malignant idiocy is what Abubakar Malami @MalamiSan is, they can’t hide it that they hate the tribe that sells ‘spare parts’ and I ask what has spare parts got to do with this national emergency? #RevolutionNow #BuhariMustGo.”

Former Aviation Minister and Peoples Democratic Party’s chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) said on Twitter, “How the Attorney General can compare killer Fulani herdsmen to law-abiding spare part dealers beats me. The former are bloodthirsty terrorists who have nothing to offer but death and destruction whilst the latter are peace-loving men and women who are providing a vital service.”

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and lawyer, Prof Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) tweeted, “According to the constitution of Attorney-General @MalamiSan, the right of freedom of movement is granted to cows not to humans & extends to the right of cows to move around & eat your crops on your lands as they see fit, herded by people the #VileLittleMan says are foreigners.”

The human rights activist further wrote that, “#Nigeria’s Attorney-General, @MalamiSan, thinks #OpenGrazing is like selling motor #SpareParts, tueh….! Of the many misadventures that define the regime of @Mbuhari, his Attorney-General, @MalamiSan, takes the cake. He is a special piece of wilful nuisance. It takes considered intent to be so illiterate as Attorney-General.”

According to the economist and founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside (@AtedoPeterside) on Twitter, “It is disingenuous to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons. The latter does not extend to the free movement of cattle, goats, sheep etc through farms with the attendant destruction of somebody’s harvest.”

Another expert on human rights and public health, YS Yusuf (@FS_Yusuf_) wrote on Twitter, “Dear Malami (SAN), Igbo traders selling spare parts in the North rent or build their shops; they don’t carry arms around & cause unrest. Since open grazing has proven unworkable, advise herdsmen to obtain lands to rear their cattle because southern farms want peace and progress.”

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