A former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, said on Monday President Mohammed Buhari lacks the power to impose open grazing on the states.
The President had on Thursday approved the return of the cattle grazing route used during the First Republic.
The grazing system adopted during the period allowed herdsmen to use designated grazing routes to move their cattle to several parts of the country.
Buhari, who confirmed his approval for the return of the practice during an interview on Arise TV, said he had asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes to their personal use.
Clark, who reacted to the President’s remarks at a media briefing in Abuja, warned the Federal Government and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) against conduct and utterances capable of escalating the crisis in the country.
He said the people of the Niger Delta have watched with patience the reckless and irresponsible utterances of some groups who have over the years threatened other Nigerians over grazing routes.
The elder statesman also decried the warning by a faceless group to the Delta State government to withdraw within 72 hours, the decision to ban open grazing in the Southern part of the country.
He said: “The decision on open grazing and other decisions taken on national interest by the 17 Southern governors received the full support of the people of Southern Nigeria, particularly the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the South-East, PANDEF of the South-South and the Afenifere of the South-West.
“The President has no power or authority to impose open grazing on state governments. Such illegal action which is a breach of the 1999 Constitution will not be accepted and will be legally resisted at all costs.
“Therefore, any law banning open grazing by state governments is not only legal and binding but is unchallengeable and binding on any person or group of persons, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“We will no longer tolerate hate and divisive statements targeted at deriding and insulting others, from these Fulani’s who believe Nigeria is exclusively theirs and other Nigerians are their subjects and not their fellow citizens.”
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