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Human rights are not animal rights, HURIWA tells Malami

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[FILES] Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN)


• Faults minister’s comment on southern govs’ resolutions
An advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said it was a fallacy and an irredeemable illogicality for the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to compare the ban on open grazing of cows in the southern part of the country to ban on sale of vehicles spare parts in the north.

“These two items are incomparable because whilst one is sold in an organised shopping mall by traders who pay rents and taxes to state government, cows that are openly grazed violently invade farm lands and have often caused destructions to farms,” the group argued. 

HURIWA faulted the AGF for criticising the southern governors for banning open grazing.

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“We are not in any way shocked that Malami, a Fulani-born lawyer and politician, has attacked southern governors for taking practical steps to checkmate the rampant invasions of farms in the south by armed Fulani herdsmen. It does appear that a federal attorney general does not understand the laws in such a way that he is mixing up animal rights and human rights. The Minister of Justice of President Muhammadu Buhari is unaware that the fundamental human rights provisions enshrined in the Nigerian constitution are not animal rights, which is why they are classified as human and not animal rights.

“That the Justice Minister of Nigeria now speaks for armed Fulani herdsmen is an unmitigated scandal, nevertheless not very strange to us because of our personal experience in a written exchanges with Malami recently.

“The same minister had written to us a response saying his office had not prosecuted any alleged armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for the many massacres around Nigeria since 2015 because government had no case file on the herdsmen killing farmers.”

HURIWA recalled that Malami said the resolve to ban open grazing by southern governors was equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the north.

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The rights group recalled that last Tuesday, the southern governors resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot, at a meeting in Asaba, Delta State. Speaking on the development on Wednesday, in an interview on Channels Television, Malami faulted the decision of the governors, saying it did not align with the provisions of the constitution.

“It is about constitutionality within the context of the freedoms expressed in our constitution. Can you deny the rights of a Nigerian? For example, it is as good as saying, perhaps, maybe, the northern governors coming together to say 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 prohibits spare parts trading in the north?”

Reacting to the justice minister’s outburst HURIWA said it was not surprised because the minister had categorically expressed lack of interest in prosecuting armed Fulani herdsmen.

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