Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has described as unconstitutional and a political suicide moves by the Federal Government to support herders who are planning to challenge the anti-open grazing law in court.
Falana said this while reacting to a statement by Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the Federal Government supports moves by herders to sue the Southern Governors over the anti-open grazing bills they recently signed into law in their respective states.
Falana said the decision of the Federal Government to take sides in the dispute between the herders and the Southern Governors is a “constitutional aberration and political suicide”.
He added, “Specifically, it is a gross violation of Section 17 of the constitution which provides that the Nigerian people are entitled to equal rights and opportunities before the law and Section 42 thereof which has prohibited the Federal Government from conferring advantage on any group of citizens.
“Accordingly, the resources of the entire Nigerian people cannot be dissipated on defending herders against state governments.”
He further said the alliance between the herders and the Federal Government was at variance with the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the government which had adopted ranching.
“In defending the herders in the case, the Federal Government will certainly run into serious contradictions having made available the sum of N6.2billion to Katsina for ranching; the Federal Government will not be permitted to turn round to embrace open grazing. The court will not allow the Federal Government to approbate and reprobate at the same time,” he said.