Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday knocked the Presidency over its recent response to the ban on open grazing by Southern Governors’ Forum.
The Presidency had in a statement issued on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, described the governors’ resolution on open grazing in the Southern part of the country as illegal.
Falana, who addressed participants at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual Conference in Abuja, accused the Presidency of crying more than the bereaved on the matter.
He described the Federal Government’s planned rehabilitation of grazing reserves as a knee jerk reaction to the Southern governors’ decision to ban open grazing in the region.
The lawyer stressed that the Presidency’s position has further polarised the country in the face of several threats to its unity.
Falana said: “In its belated response to the reckless killing of farmers, destruction of farms, kidnapping, and raping of women by killer herders. The Federal Government has decided to revive grazing reserves as a knee-jerk reaction to the decision of the Southern Governors’ Forum to ban open grazing.
“Thus, the reaction of the Presidency has further polarised a country whose unity is being seriously threatened by separatist groups.
“But the reaction is uncalled for having regard to the fact that the National Economic Council and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum had banned open grazing and resolved to embrace ranching.
“Whereas the Presidency has said the fundamental right of armed herders cannot be abridged, why has the Federal Government decided to restrict the movement of cattle to grazing reserves?
“Last Friday, the Federal High Court ruled that state governments have the power to enact anti-grazing laws. Therefore, it smacks of brazen official impunity on the part of the Presidency to have said that the ban on open grazing is of doubtful legality.”
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