Pan-Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has taken a swipe at the Attorney General of the Federal and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami over his stance against the ban of open-grazing in Southern Nigeria by the governors of the South.
Reacting to Malami’s comment that banning open grazing in the South is like banning the sale of motor spare parts in the North, Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, in a statement released to journalists in Enugu on Thursday, said such a comparison was malevolent, ominous and incendiary. Ohanaeze said Malami’s attempt, as a chief law officer, to twist the law, was heartbreaking and sad.
“The attention of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the statement credited to Mr Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice where he stated that: “The decision by the Southern governors to ban open grazing in the South is unconstitutional and is like a ban on the sale of motor spare parts in the North.
Such a remark by a chief law officer of a federation. is thoughtless, insidious and prejudicial,” the apex Igbo group said. Ohanaeze recalled that in the “glorious past”, the peoples of Southern Nigerian had never had any problem with the conduct of the Fulani herdsmen, as the herders would trek with their cattle unmolested, from the far North to the South, sometimes a distance of about 1000 kilometers.
The herders, according to Ohanaeze, would also sell the cows as they moved from one location to the other, stressing that to the southerners, it was always as strange as it was curious that a boy of 12 years and pregnant women would endure the harsh weather and the risks of the wild forests fending cattle. “Only very rarely, the cattle would stray and destroy the crops in the farm and they would sincerely apologize.
The apologies were taken in good faith. And, Nigeria was a country. “A few years ago, the Fulani herdsmen became impudent and uncontrollably lionized. They would unleash their cattle on a farm and would maim and kill the owner of the farm, if he or she complained. In most cases, they would violate and debauch young girls and mothers before sending them to their early graves. “The Southern governors had complained to the Presidency to no avail; rather the herders were massively indulged with fire arms, AK-47, to enable them shoot at will any indigenous farmer that stood their ways.
“The likes of the incumbent Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Bala Mohammed were very vehement in defence of the AK-47 trigger happy Fulani herders. “The effects of the above scenario are banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of agitation in the South. “It is generally known that to solve any problem, we first attack the cause of the problem and that is precisely what the Southern governors have done. They identified the cause or the essential parts of the problems in the country as emanating from the herders-farmers clash and have decided to attack the cause of the problems.”