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Southern governors set August 14 deadline for passing anti-open grazing law

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The Southern Governors Forum on Thursday said all its members’ states must promulgate the anti-open grazing law by August 4.

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The forum made the resolutions at a meeting in Lagos State on Monday.

The governors had in May announced a ban on open grazing in all the 17 Southern states.

They recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems.

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The forum explained rationale for the ban on open grazing, stressing that, “development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South, including cattle movement to the South by foot.”

They collectively identified the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country as being at the root of the “severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives in the region.

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But the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, opposed the southern governors’ decision to ban open grazing in their states.

Malami said such an ‘unconstitutional’ resolution was dangerous for the country.

“It is a dangerous provision for any governor in Nigeria to think he can bring any compromise on the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around,” Malami said during an interview on Channels Television‘s Politics Today.

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“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.”

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