Falana stated that the Presidency’s stance on the matter has polarised the country further amid several threats to the country’s unity.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has condemned the opposition of the federal government to the ban on open grazing by some Southern governors.
The Presidency had on Monday described the ban, which was one of the resolutions 17 Southern governors from the zone made during their May 11 meeting in Asaba, Delta State, as of ‘questionable legality’.
In a statement by Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman said the governors’ action is of “questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”
But speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law Annual Conference 2021 on Tuesday, Falana stated that the Presidency’s stance on the matter has polarised the country further amid several threats to the country’s unity.
He also described the federal government’s decision to revive grazing reserves as a knee jerk reaction to the decision of the Southern Governors Forum to ban open grazing, especially as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had already accepted the ban on open grazing.
The Senior Advocate further advised the Presidency to study the Grazing Reserves Act of 1964 so as not to compound the crisis by giving the erroneous impression that grazing reserves are different from ranches.
“More than ever before, the media and the Nigerian Bar Association ought to intensify the campaign for the actualisation of the provisions of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.
“In particular, this is the time to mount sufficient pressure on all governments to provide for the welfare and security of the people pursuant to section 14 of the Constitution.
“However, 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.