Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Thursday, slammed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for saying open grazing ban by Southern governors was unconstitutional.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement titled, ‘HURIWA To Malami: Human Rights Aren’t Cow Rights’, said it was unfortunate that the justice minister now speaks for Fulani herders.
The group also called on Malami to resign to take up a full-time job as lawyer to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
It was earlier reported that the minister lambasted the Southern governors over their recent ban of open grazing in the region. About 17 southern governors had met last week in Asaba, the Delta State capital, and resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region as some kidnappings and killings in the southern region have been traced to criminal elements amongst herders.
But according to the AGF, open grazing ban is the same thing as Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region considering the fact that Southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
Reacting, HURIWA said, “It was a fallacy and an irredeemable illogicality for the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to compare the ban on open grazing of cows in the South to banning sale of vehicular spare parts in the North.
“These two items are incomparable because whilst one is sold in an organised shopping mall by traders who pay rents and taxes to state government, cows that are openly grazed violently invade farm lands and have often caused destructions to farms.”
HURIWA, which faulted the AGF for criticising Southern governors for banning open grazing, also stated, “We are not in any way shocked that the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, a Fulani-born lawyer and politician, has attacked Southern governors for taking practical steps to checkmate the rampant invasions of farms in the South by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“It does appear that a federal Attorney General does not understand the laws in such a way that he is mixing up animal rights and human rights. The minister of justice of President Muhammadu Buhari is unaware that the fundamental human rights provisions enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution are not animal rights which is why they are classified as human and not animal rights.
“That the justice minister of Nigeria now speaks for armed Fulani herdsmen is an unmitigated scandal but nevertheless not very strange to us because of our personal experience in a written exchanges with the Federal Attorney General and MinisterofJustice Abubakar Malami recently.
“This is because, the same minister had written to us a response saying his office has not prosecuted any alleged armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for the many massacres around Nigeria since 2015 because according to Malami, government has no case file on this herdsmen killing farmers.”
The rights group said the best way to obtain justice for farmers and families murdered by armed herdsmen is for the justice minister to resign immediately and find full time job as the lawyer to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.