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The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is in the news again for terrible reasons. In his usual characteristic manner of supporting, orchestrating substandard, and unethical norms in the country; the Attorney General spoke against the new decision by Southern Governors to ban open grazing in their region in very brash, unprofessional tones riddled with nepotic sentiments disallowed for a man in his crucial position on the state of affairs in the country.
It can be recalled that the southern governors resolved to ban open grazing and the movement of cattle by foot, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta State last week Tuesday. While featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme, last night, the Attorney General had made a controversial statement saying that the Southern Governors banning open grazing is the same thing as Northern Governors banning ‘spare parts’ trading in the North, considering the fact that Southerners constitute the majority of spare parts traders in the North. This attracted him a lot of backlash from Nigerians as many found it offensive.
Many kidnappings and killings in the Southern region have been linked to criminal elements among herders and bandits who also pose as herdsmen and cattle rearers. This triggered the Southern Governors to call for a symposium to put an end to the embarrassing menace the bandits and the Fulani Herdsmen were causing in their region. The Southern Governors also called for restructuring of the country to bring about fiscal federalism, devolution of powers and state policing.
Pointedly, the meeting had not gone down well with Abubakar Malami as he picked holes in the ban on open grazing describing it as illegal and unconstitutional.
In his words: ‘It is about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? It is as good as saying may be 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?’
‘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, among others is established by the constitution.’
‘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 but 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.’
Also taking swipes at the clamour for restructuring by the Southern Governors, he was vocal about his disapproval for the calls by the Governors for restructuring in the Country while making claims that the Nigerian Government was already in an optimal state in the dispersion of its duties and functions. In his words:
‘My view about restructuring as well cannot be divorced from the political undertone. Take for example, what we have existing as a structure – as tiers of government – we have federal, state and local governments. Now, coming down to the local government, what is happening to the local governments?’
‘Those that are clamouring for restructuring, what have they done in terms of ensuring functional efficiency of the local governments? “Here we are having a governor clamouring for restructuring and denying a local government, which is a tier of government, the financial resources to function effectively.’
‘When you talk about restructuring, what are you talking about precisely, so that I can answer you within the context of your understanding of restructuring. As far as this government is concerned, restructuring is allowing the functionality of the democratic structures. You cannot be clamouring for restructuring in a system whereby you have responsibility to allow the existing tiers of government to operate. You are denying them functional operation and you are shouting restructuring’.
‘You cannot clamour for restructuring in a situation whereby three arms of government; you have the responsibility to allow them to flourish and operate optimally, (but) you are undermining their operations by denying them the autonomy granted constitutionally. Yet, you are clamouring for restructuring’.
‘So, within the context of restructuring, what matters most is allowing the democratic structures; allowing the federal structures to operate optimally. Until we now allow these structures to operate optimally, there is no way we can have the benefits associated with those structures. So, in a situation whereby the elite and political elements are denying these structures to operate optimally, I don’t think there is any justification for clamouring for restructuring that is not in any way well practiced.’
With these nepotic statements by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has shown that he is one of those at the forefront of running the country down with disastrous policies and sentiments that only suit his personal beliefs and those of his close and vicious circle. Already, hard knocks have come down on him in form of replies and petitions from the South-South Governors Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-political group, some members of the Nigerian Senate and other political elites who decried his myopic views even as the Attorney General of the Federation.
Throwing his full support behind open-grazing while being aware of the detriments and disastrous consequences associated with it only shows how much of a goofer Abubakar Malami is. In his position, he is entitled to first-hand accounts of the mayhem this open-grazing has caused to the Nation-State of Nigeria in form of killings, banditry and kidnappings that these bandits and Fulani Herdsmen have meted out wherever they go. Throwing his full weight behind their atrocities only means that he is one of those who are out to destroy the country while secretly reaping the proceeds of the disaster and bad light these cannibals have thrown the country into.
If Nigeria were a working country where things went the right way that they should, AGF Malami should have been sanctioned and queried seriously for making those nepotistic utterances but in the usual way of the ‘powers-that-be’ in the Country of which he is a part of, his statements would go unchecked and life would go on while the bandits perpetrating these evils would be very elated that they have the full support of the Attorney-General of the Federation to cause more mayhem wherever they find themselves.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK