The Federal Government on Sunday threw its weight behind moves by herdsmen to sue southern governors over the anti-open grazing bill they recently signed into law.
The Special Assistant (Media) to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu, who disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH, said Nigerians whose rights had been violated could go to court to seek protection.
Gwandu stated this as state police commands on Sunday differed on the enforcement of the law.
While Ebonyi and Osun state police commands told our correspondents that they would enforce the law, a source in the Lagos State Police Command stated that the police would only provide protection to the enforcement team of the state.
The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Friday Eboka, on his part said he had not seen a copy of the state anti-open grazing law.
But a top police officer told one of our correspondents that it would be difficult for state commands to enforce the law without the support of force headquarters.
Most southern states, including Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, and just recently, Delta and Ogun states, signed the anti-open grazing bill into law.
The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore group, while reacting to the passage of the law in the southern states, described it as ‘satanic’ and ‘politically motivated,’ adding that it would sue the governors over the law.
The National Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore group, Selah Alhassan, told Sunday PUNCH, threatened that the group would sue the southern governors.
Gwandu, in an interview with one of our correspondents, stated, “The rights trampled upon are individual rights of Nigerians as constitutionally guaranteed.
“The Nigerians whose rights are violated reserve the right to approach the court for the protection of such rights within the context of freedom of movement among others. It will be viewed with that consideration in mind.”
In Ebonyi State, the state Police Command says it will arrest and prosecute violators of the anti-open grazing law in the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Aliyu Garba, stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abakaliki, on Sunday.
When asked if the police would enforce the law, Garba asked, “Why not? We will arrest and prosecute offenders. Come with a complaint and see whether it is not going to be attended to.”