Fulani socio-cultural organisation, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has vowed to challenge in court the anti-open grazing laws passed by some states in the south and middle belt region.
The group described the anti-open grazing law as “satanic and an attempt by the populist and corruption-driven agenda by visionless, inept and desperate politicians’ to destroy pastoralists’ means of livelihood.
It said the laws will destroy livestock production and send into poverty millions of people that depend on the livestock value chain (butchers, transporters, livestock dealers and consumers who are used to affordable sources of beef and milk.
Miyetti Allah stated this in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing presided over by its national president, Alhaji Abdullahi Bode and the national secretary, Engr. Saleh Alhassan.
The briefing was a pre-event to the national stakeholders’ peace summit on the theme: “National Cohesion As a Panacea For Peaceful Coexistence Between Farmers And Herders In Nigeria,” and the investiture of HRH Queen Mother, Amina Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora) as Miyetti Allah brand ambassador.
Alhassan called on the National Assembly and President Muhammad Buhari to intervene and stop current attempts by some states governors to criminalise their means of economic livelihood of cattle rearing through the enactment of “satanic and obnoxious laws – ‘Anti-open Grazing Laws’ targeted at Fulani pastoralists.”
He also urged proper funding of the National Commission for Nomadic Education and the expansion of its mandate.
Ahassan said, “These oppressive laws and hostile policies being enacted by state governors are fundamentally going against the Fulani pastoralist culture, economic interest and constitutional rights.
“It is important to note that inter-state movement of pastoralists is analogous to inter-state commerce, which is an exclusive preserve of the legislative powers of the National Assembly under Item 62 of the Exclusive Legislative List.
“To this effect, any action taken by any state Assembly that is in conflict with the above section of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is null and void.
“These laws do not take into cognisance the sociology, economic, production system, climate variations and other push factors that are inherent in pastoralists’ movements across ecological zones. It is a common knowledge that Nigeria’s mode of agricultural practice is still primitive all over the country are not consistent with global best practices, so why singling out the pastoralists, who have been suffering from the cumulative years of neglect in terms of development from both federal and state governments,” he said.
The group asked the governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom to apologise to the Fulani race for what it described as “tissues of lies, propaganda profiling of the Fulani pastoralists and falsehood” against them.
Ahassan said, “Our organisation totally condemn the continuous extortion and profiling of the Fulani pastoralists by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and call on him to offer apology to the Fulani race.”
He also urged the National Assembly to resuscitate and pass the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill and other livestock management bills that were initiated by the previous National Assembly.
“Our organisation totally condemn the vituperations of one Emir of Muri in Taraba State for the genocidal propaganda against Fulani pastoralists and have since taking the necessary legal steps against the monarch and also written to the Taraba State governor to immediately dethrone him.
“We commend the courageous efforts of the federal government under the progressive leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to our consistent call to restore the existing grazing reserves and routes and create new ones as it is the only sustainable solution to the farmers /herders’ conflicts in the country,” he said.
Speaking on security issues in Katsina State and other north west states, the group condemned the ban of inter-state cattle movement by Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
The body attributed the security challenge in Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi and other northern states to failure of governance.
” Most of the herders are from Katsina and the governor should have created ranches for herders to serve as a good example for other state governors to emulate instead of playing to the gallery by banning inter-state movement of cattle.
We Are Not Ready To Take Issue With Them – Official
Meanwhile, an official of the Southern Governors’ Forum who does not want his name mentioned said there is nothing to react to about Miyetti Allah’s threat.
According to him, ”we are not ready to join issues with them. Let them go to court.”
Meanwhile, Benue State Governnor Samuel Ortom has said that he is not afraid of Miyetti Allah taking him to court, and he is ready to meet with them at court.
Governor Ortom who was reacting to the vow by Miyetti Allah to sue governors over anti-grazing laws said the Benue State Government is fully prepared to meet with the group at the Court of Law.
The governor spoke through the chief press secretary Terver Akase.
Also yesterday, some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) who reacted to the move by Miyetti Allah said it is unlikely to scale through.
According to them, grazing is neither on the exclusive or the concurrent list.
Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the resolution of the southern governors’ banning open grazing, declared that it cannot be challenged in court.
He said, ”Grazing is neither on exclusive nor concurrent list, so I don’t know on what basis they are going to approach the National Assembly.
”Also, the resolution of the state government is not the law, it is the law of each state that is the law on the matter. Anybody who wants to challenge the law will have to pick on the state one after the other.
”They cannot challenge the resolution of the southern governors in court because it is not a justiciable matter. What they can challenge is the law enacted by the various states.”
An Abuja-based constitutional lawyer, Barrister Paul Omoluabi, said the move is a fruitless venture.
According to him, the National Assembly cannot enact laws for the state.
He agreed with the submission of Raji that grazing is neither on the exclusive nor concurrent list.
He argued that the land belongs to the states and any attempt by the National Assembly to dabble into grazing law will result into conflict of laws.
He said a state has the power to make laws that will be in the best interest of its citizen.
”The state has the power to make laws that will protect its citizens if it feels their lives are endangered. The National Assembly cannot go ahead and make laws as regards grazing because it is not in the exclusive or concurrent lists,” Omoluabi said.