Position of presidency on open grazing ban unfortunate, says Edwin Clark
An Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark has condemned the statement released by the presidency which criticised southern governors’ proposed banning of open grazing in their respective states.
Recall that 17 southern governors had earlier met in Asaba and resolved to ban opem grazing within their states.
According to the governors, the decision was taken as a part of efforts to improve security in the region.
Mixed reactions followed the resolution — with politicians going back and forth on the issue.
Reacting to the resolution on Monday, the presidency weighed in on the issue and questioned the legality of the resolution reached by the governors.
The statement said the proposed ban will not solve the farmer-herder clashes that have been a challenge to the nation.
“It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in our country for generations,” the statement said.
“But the citizens of the southern states – indeed citizens of all states of Nigeria – have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: ‘not in my state’.
“It is equally true that their announcement is of questionable legality, given the Constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) -regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”
Reacting to the development, Clark described the statement as “unfortunate,” and asked the presidency to recant.
He said the president should desist from infringing on the rights of governors to lead their states as provided in the constitution.
“That statement is very unfortunate and I’ll advise him to retract it. Because the constitution is very clear. The president is in charge of the entire country we call Nigeria today. But the state governors, 36 of them, were voted in their respective states as he was voted in the whole country. So they have their states under them; they control their states. They are the chief security officers of their states,” he said.
“Mr President cannot go to states and go and dictate to them. We are not in a military government. The president has enormous powers but there are areas where it must stop.”
The 94-year-old then proposed legal redress to those who believe the governors’ resolution was flawed.
“What I would advise in order not to cause confusion or crisis is that all those who doubt and have no belief in the governors’ statement go to court to challenge it. And I think the governors are ready to go to any length [to prove their case],” he said.
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