17 southern governors are expected meet today (Monday) in Lagos, the meeting will center on President Muhammadu Buhari’s order on the recovery of grazing routes for herders, and other issues bothering the southern part of the country. The meeting, which would hold eight weeks after the governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, would further assess and review decisions taken in Asaba on the open grazing ban, the call for state police, fiscal federalism and restructuring.
The governors would be hosted in Lagos by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which would start by 10am today (Monday). Expected at the meeting are Governor Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Governor Oluwaseyi Makinde (Oyo), Governor Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Governor Godwin Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Governor Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Governor Diri Duoye (Bayelsa), Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Governor Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Governor Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Governor Willie Obiano (Anambra), Governor Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers), Governor David Umahi (Ebonyi), and Governor Hope Uzodimma (Imo).
The governors in a communiqué issued at the end of their last meeting in Asaba, placed a ban open grazing as part of moves to address killings and kidnapping by herdsmen in the region, but few days after the meeting, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, faulted the decision of the southern governors on open grazing.
According to the AGF, “It’s about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? For example, it’s as good as saying the northern governors coming together to say they forbid spare parts trading in the north. Does it hold water?” He further explained “It is indeed a dangerous position for any governor in Nigeria to think that he can bring about any compromise to the freedom and liberty of individuals to move around,” he said.
Also, the Presidency slammed the southern governors for banning open grazing. The Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had, in a statement, said, “It is equally true that their (governors’) announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT), regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”
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