Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has urged southern governors in the country to back their ban on open grazing with a legal instrument to enable the prosecution of offenders.
Falana spoke on Wednesday evening while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that about 17 southern governors met on Tuesday in Asaba, Delta State, and resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region. The governors also called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address the nation and convoke a national dialogue to address widespread agitations amongst various groups in the region.
Of late, scores of farmers in Southern Nigeria have been killed, raped, and kidnapped by criminal elements who masquerade as herders. The escalating insecurity in the region has been responsible for food scarcity as farmers abandon their farms as a result of fear of unknown attacks by criminal herders who invade farmlands, brazenly destroy investments worth millions of naira while their cattle feed on crops and scuttle months of farmers’ labour.
Speaking on the television programme on Wednesday, Falana said the ban on open grazing, night grazing, underage grazing was important in securing lives and properties in the country, adding that the ban was also in the interest of the herders.
The senior advocate said, “I have read the resolutions and for me, the governors have done very well. They need to mobilise their northern colleagues, they need to walk their talk because if you expect that the presidency will act on this resolution, the governors may be wasting their precious time.”
“Each of the governors will have to make enabling laws to translate the decision in the communiqué to legal instruments,” he said, adding that governors would have to ensure state attorney generals come together and put in machineries for translating the resolutions into laws.
Falana also lauded the southern governors for demanding the restructuring of the country along fiscal federalism.
“For the entire country, these resolutions will be very useful; they have come at the right time, not too late, the governors have now formally joined the campaign for restructuring,” the human rights lawyer said.