A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has advised the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami to challenge the ban on open grazing in court.
The Southern Governors at a meeting last week in Asaba, Delta State, announced the prohibition.
Reacting, Malami, a SAN, opposed the ban and likened the decision to Northern Governors placing an embargo on spare parts business.
Adegboruwa, in a statement, said the proponents of open grazing support it with the right to freedom of movement granted under section 41 of the constitution.
He noted that the section cannot be interpreted to violate other constitutional provisions, especially, section 43, which grants one the right to own private or public property.
“You cannot deploy the right to movement of person and cattle to violate the right of another citizen to own property, such as land or farmland or else you become a trespasser.
“I disagree with the Attorney-General of the Federation when he said the ban on open grazing is unconstitutional. That cannot represent a proper interpretation of the Constitution.”
Noting that the AGF is a member of the executive arm, under section 5 of the constitution, Adegboruwa stressed he was not assigned to make proclamations for the country.
“His comment is ultra vires, being beyond and outside his office as a Minister. The role of interpreting the Constitution is the exclusive preserve of the Courts under the Constitution.”
The SAN urged states that have proscribed open grazing, to go ahead and make laws to support their declarations.
The lawyer urged governors to implement their “lawful and courageous” ban and not be misled, intimidated or distracted by the federal government.
“We cannot say that all “Fulani herdsmen” are guilty of violence and destruction, but we must tackle those criminals who have invaded their ranks, for other purposes other than grazing”, the statement added.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) had charged the North to act on the Southern Governors’ position.