A Northern group, the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), has thrown its weight behind Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over his recent comments on the Asaba declaration where southern governors proposed a total ban on open grazing of cattle in the region.
Malami had, on May 19, faulted the ban on open grazing of cattles, arguing that such “legislations were in conflict with the constitution of the country which guaranteed freedom of movement of individuals.”
He also likened the ban on herders to asking dealers of vehicle spare parts from certain parts of the country not to conduct their businesses in the northern parts of Nigeria.
The AGF’s comments had drawn a lot of condemnation from Nigerians who felt he was stoking the embers of discord in the country but the AYA are in support of the AGF.
The group which described the declaration as myopic and unpatriotic in a statement signed by the Speaker of Assembly, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, and made available to Ripples Nigeria on Sunday, said Nigeria, as a sovereign state “governed by a defined, enacted constitution which states that every citizen has the right to live and go about his legal business in any part of the country,” the southern governors did not take the interests of other ethnic groups into consideration.
“The business of cattle rearing is enjoyed not only by the cattle rearers but the whole of humanity,” the statement reads.
“Some of these benefits include a source of income to individuals and the nation at large, creation of jobs, boosting of the agricultural sector as well as a source of nutrition.
“Banning open grazing is automatically putting a stop to all these benefits and termination of many people’s source of livelihoods.
“Thus, we are highly disappointed and frown at the Southern Governor’s decision to ban open grazing.
“It is unfortunate and sad for such utterances to be coming from elder statesmen and the chief security officers of various states.
“We call on the Federal Government to swing to a continuous action, act and protect the lives and properties of the genuine cattle rearers going about their legal business moving from one community to another in search of suitable feed for their livestock in Southern part of the country.
“We also call on the Northern Governor’s Forum, Northern Elites, traditional rulers and youth organizations to checkmate the activities of Southerners residing in Northern Nigeria as many of them are involved in so many illegal businesses.
“These activities happen to be the propelling force of insecurity in Northern Nigeria today that has resulted in the backwardness of Northern Nigeria, loss of properties worth billions of dollars, loss of precious and promising lives.
“If the southern governors will continue with the Asaba declarations, then we will be compelled to redefine the activities of Southerners residing in the North.”
By Isaac Dachen
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