Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation, has slammed governors of southern Nigeria for declaring an open grazing ban, saying the decision is akin to northern governors outlawing the sale of spare parts in their region.
Malami said this in an interview on Wednesday in response to the decisions taken by the southern governors, popularly known as the Asaba Accord, recently.
They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation; and also demanded the restructuring of the country, saying there is an urgent need for the president to convene a national dialogue.
However, prominent politicians and influential persons from northern Nigeria have expressed their opposition to the resolutions.
In his own reaction, Malami, who is from Kebbi State, said the declaration by the southern governors is null and void, insisting that it is unconstitutional.
According to the Minister of Justice, no governor has the right to limit the movement of Nigerians in the country, noting the declaration “does not hold water”.
“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian?
“It is as good as saying maybe the Northern governors coming together to say that they prohibit spare parts trading in the North. Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a Northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the North? Malami said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“If you are talking of a constitutionally guaranteed right, the better approach to it is perhaps to go back and ensure that the constitution is amended. The freedom and liberty of movement, amongst others, is established by the constitution.”
The AGF stated that if the southern governors should instead of making an illegal declaration approach the National Assembly to amend the constitution in order to reflect their choice on open grazing.
He said: “If by an inch, you want to have any compromise, the better approach is to go back to the National Assembly for open grazing to be prohibited and see whether you can have the desired support for the constitutional amendment in that respect.
“It is a very dangerous position for any governor in Nigeria to think that he can bring about any compromise on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around.”