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Fayose, lawmakers, rights group tackle minister over anti-open grazing laws


Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti has kicked against the insinuation by Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, that the implementation of anti-open grazing laws should be suspended nationwide while negotiation for safe routes for herders continues. The governor, however, held that the law has come to stay in state.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday met behind closed doors with security chiefs over insecurity. Dan-Ali, had at the end of the meeting, issued a statement through his Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, suggesting the suspension of the implementation of the anti-grazing laws in some states while negotiating safe routes for herders.

However, reacting through his twitter handle, Fayose said such statement was an affront on federalism, wondering why the presidency still sees states as appendages of the Federal Government.His words: “That the Federal Government, through the Minister of Defence, Dan-Ali, said states should suspend the implementation of the anti-grazing law is an affront on federalism that is practised in Nigeria. It is amazing that at the level of the presidency, they still see states as appendages of the Federal Government.


“Why is Buhari not rearing his cows through open grazing? Why is it difficult for the Federal Government to support cattle ranching? Here in Ekiti, the anti-open grazing law stays. It is the presidency that should stop looking the other way while the herdsmen are busy killing Nigerians.“Me think the President should be concerned about how to take the herdsmen out of the bush and give them decent life instead of subjecting his own people’s lives to following cows through the bush from Yobe to Lagos.” 

However, the House of Representatives has urged the National Security Council to rescind its decision calling on some of the 36 states of the federation to suspend their anti-open grazing laws.Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. John Dyegh at plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the lawmakers also summoned the Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan- Ali (rtd) to appear before them and clear the air on the issue today.  

The House further called on the executive arm to submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to develop colonies in states that have agreed to donate land to cattle herders.Dyegh (Benue, APC), while moving the motion, faulted the position of the National Security Council, saying it contradicts Section 4 (7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which gives express powers to the state assemblies to make laws for the good governance of the states of the federation. 

Making reference to the killings across the federation, he said it beats his imagination that the Security Council chose to interfere with the powers of the states geared at ensuring the wellbeing of the citizenry. Dyegh argued that since Nigerians were compelled to obey laws made by some states to outlaw trading in alcohol and prostitution, the anti-open grazing law ought not be equally obeyed by the marauding herdsmen nationwide.’


Also yesterday, the Benue House of Assembly said neither President Buhari nor the Defence Minister had the constitutional powers to suspend the state’s anti-grazing law.In a motion by its Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi, the legislature unanimously held that the minister was incompetent and should be immediately sacked.Earlier, Adanyi, who represents Makurdi South, informed the house of comments by the minister calling on Buhari to suspend the anti-grazing laws in Benue, Ekiti, and Taraba states.He was worried that the comments were coming from someone whose responsibility was to safeguard lives and property.

According to him, it was more worrisome that the comments were made after a meeting between security chiefs and the president at the State House, Abuja.The seconded, Mr. Chris Adaji, argued that the President had surrounded himself with ‘incompetent people who cannot proffer solution to the problems confronting Nigeria.’ 

In a similar vein, the lawmaker representing Benue North West Senatorial District, Barnabas Gemade said the President was being ill-advised by appointees.Also yesterday, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) the minister’s statement as treasonable felony.In a statement yesterday by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA called for the arrest and disengagement of the minister, adding that if the President does not sack him, the group would petition the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands to get him arrested.

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