Chief Edwin Clark, an elder statesman and a former federal commissioner for information, has kicked against what is perceived to be the Federal Government’s attempt to overrule of state government’s decision on the issue of open grazing.
He made this known while speaking on Monday, in which he stated that President Mohammed Buhari does not possess the legal power to impose open grazing on states.
Buhari in a recent interview affirmed a First Republic idea that would allow the return of cattle grazing routeswhich allows herdsmen trail designated paths across the country.
The insistence of the Executive on matters of cattle grazing makes many Nigerians skeptical of the intentions of the Federal Government regarding land control.
Edwin Clark while reacting to the development urged President Buhari to regard himself as the President of Nigeria rather than a leader of the Fulani tribe.
“The decision on open grazing and other decisions taken on national interest by the 17 Southern governors received the full support of the people of Southern Nigeria, particularly the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the South-East, PANDEF of the South-South and the Afenifere of the South-West.
“The President has no power or authority to impose open grazing on state governments. Such illegal action which is a breach of the 1999 Constitution will not be accepted and will be legally resisted at all costs.
“Therefore, any law banning open grazing by state governments is not only legal and binding but is unchallengeable and binding on any person or group of persons, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“We will no longer tolerate hate and divisive statements targeted at deriding and insulting others, from these Fulani’s who believe Nigeria is exclusively theirs and other Nigerians are their subjects and not their fellow citizens,” Chief Clark briefed newsmen.
While noting that the people of the Niger Delta have watched with patience the reckless and irresponsible utterances of some groups who have over the years threatened other Nigerians over grazing routes, the elder statesman warned the Federal Government and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) against conduct and utterances capable of escalating the crisis in the country.