Malami is Right, Nigerians Should be Free to Do Business Anywhere, Says Group

May 23, 2021
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Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN)
*Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

A pro-democracy group, Coalition For The Defence Of Democracy In Nigeria (CDDN) has called for caution over the southern governor’s resolution on open grazing and the statement of the attorneys-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN.

According to the group, the AGF is the chief law officer of the country and must have spoken strictly on the lawfulness of cattle rearing in the country.

The AGF had in an interview on Channels Television compared cattle rearing in the southern part of the country to spare parts business in the north.

He spoke following the ban of open graze ng by southern governors after a meeting in Asaba.

Chief Isaac Ikpa, National Convener, CDDN, at a press conference in Abuja, said it is illogical to act in that regard and urged the governors to revisit their stand in the overall interest of unity and peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.

Chief Ikpa said, ”We, therefore, as a Coalition seek to make the following clarifications on the interview because we noticed from the comments since the interview was granted that so many Nigerians misconstrued the point the AGF was trying to drive home by comparing cattle business with spare parts traders in the North.

”The context of the use of “spare parts” is about freedom of movement of goods and ownership. Does it not violate the respective rights of the Fulani and Ibo people if you restrict their rights to the movement of their possessed goods that are not legally outlawed?

”Fulanis own cattle which they move around in a possessive sense. Spare part dealers move spare parts in ownership and possessive sense. We submit that it is the encroachment of the right of others that have ever been punishable and not the act of lawful grazing. Identifying encroachment with an ethnic toga is dangerous and mischievous and it has never been. A spare parts dealer that encroaches into other peoples land to store his wares has committed an act of trespass not because he is an Igbo man but because of his unlawful act.

”As AGF, his role is to set out the law in precise terms and if we must understand, he is not the one that made these laws because it is not his duty to do so.

”We also make bold to say that the Southern Governors’ declaration is a blanket statement lacking in precision and legally wrong. The statement of the AGF in the interview was aimed at showing this.

”We believe the AGF spoke strictly on the lawfulness of cattle rearing. Based on our laws, every lawful business is free and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. We are not also unmindful of the fact that in the course of doing business an act of criminality may occur and if that happens, it can be dealt with according to the extant law. We believe it is wrong for the Southern Governors to throw a blanket ban because criminals have infiltrated a business. It is illogical to act in that regard and we urge the Governors to revisit their stand in the overall interest of unity and peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.

”At this stage of our national life when tackling insecurity is at the front burner of governance, the Governors should not distract citizens with the issue of open grazing. They should rather focus their energy on granting autonomy to States Legislature, Judiciary and Local Governments. By this, we mean that the Governors should immediately implement the provisions of Executive Order 10 assigned by President Muhammadu Buhari. They should respect the democratic principles of independence of State Legislature and Judiciary in line with Section 121 (3) of the Constitution. Nigerians seek nothing less. The divisionary and diversionary techniques should be over.

”We believe the AGF spoke strictly on the lawfulness of cattle rearing. Based on our laws, every lawful business is free and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. We are not also unmindful of the fact that in the course of doing business an act of criminality may occur and if that happens, it can be dealt with according to the extant law. We believe it is wrong for the Southern Governors to throw a blanket ban because criminals have infiltrated a business. It is illogical to act in that regard and we urge the Governors to revisit their stand in the overall interest of unity and peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.”

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