A southern leadership group has joined the long line of voices in condemnation of the attorney-general of the federation and minister for Justice who recently forgot his unique role of custodian of the Nigerian legal body to shamelessly speak for his Fulani herdsmen currently in the eye of the storm for causing serious security breaches in parts of the country.
Malami in a recent reaction to an announcement from southern governors of a ban on open grazing as a means of checking herdsmen impunity and rising insecurity in their zones, suggested that a ban on open grazing should also attract a ban on spare part business, a remark that is raking in serious condemnation from discerning Nigerians.
Joining the fray, the Southern Leadership Conference (SLC) in a press release jointly signed by Karl Chinedu Uchegbu, national coordinator, Angela Onwaeze, national secretary and Sokari Goodboy Sokari, national mobilization officer, demanded the resignation of the minister for desecrating his office.
The SCL said Malami exhibited a disturbing ethnic bias which has, “not only betrayed and desecrated his oath and responsibilities as the chief Law officer of the federation, but embarrassed Nigeria in the comity of nations.”
His equation of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement for humans engaged in business to freedom for cattle to plunder, was described as hypocritical.
“The Southern Leadership Conference notes that it is hypocritical of Mr. Malami to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons.
“It is disingenuous to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons. The latter does not extend to the free movement of cattle, goats, sheep, etc. through farms with the attendant destruction of somebody’s harvest.
“Equating the activities of nomadic herdsmen destroying peoples’ means of livelihood with others legitimately carrying on businesses by selling spare parts in their shops stands logic on its head”.
The body noted that the issues at stake are deep rooted in the history of the country and must be addressed with the seriousness it demands and public officers who cannot think beyond primordial leanings have no business staying in office.
“Any public officer who cannot rise above primordial sentiments and who pursues a parochial ethnic agenda need not occupy a position of trust especially at this time of sectional agitations. It was not dignifying of the status of the nation’s attorney-general and minister of Justice to make such remarks”.
The SLC insisted that restructuring of the Nigerian governance system is imperative for the enthronement of justice, fairness and equity, the pillars that can promote needed unity in the country.
The issues the southern governors raised are issues that have been canvassed variously for several years by all patriots and lovers of Nigeria, namely, the fiscal and institutional restructuring of the Nigerian state in ways that devolve power in the component units of the Nigerian state.
Warning that the problems confronting Nigeria are weighty, SLC advised those without meaningful contributions to keep off rather than heating up the already tense polity.
“We advise those who have no meaningful contributions to national discourse operating on the basis of equity and justice to keep quiet and stop kindling the already burning fire of ethnic disharmony in the country.
On a balance sheet, the country on all indicators is prostrate. Not too long ago, it earned the unenviable position of the world capital of poverty; the economy is on a free fall without productivity while the government is mopping loans from wherever it is available. The dire nature of the economy has now led recently to quantitative easing, i.e., the printing of paper money not backed by productivity.
Upon this, through complex contrivances, the country has been taken over by new militarism, i.e., armed non-state actors with consequent impact on the free movement of law-abiding citizens and the crippling of farming activities across the country. The overall impact has engendered a situation in which the component nationalities, in other words, the peoples of this country are agitating for separation.
“To be blunt, the country is collapsing under a rudderless leadership that is part of the problem.
“Be that as it may, beneficiaries of the present decadent system, like Malami, would perhaps never desire a change. Without a doubt, the call for re-federalizing Nigeria is not to be ignored if we desire to keep the country together.
“The issues the southern governors raised are issues that have been canvassed variously for several years by all patriots and lovers of Nigeria, namely, the fiscal and institutional restructuring of the Nigerian state in ways that devolve power in the component units of the Nigerian state.
The Southern Leadership Conference supports the actions of the governors. It is a right step in the right direction. We insist that it should not be discarded in deference to blackmail from the perpetrators of the backward state of affairs in the country who are incurable loafers who contribute nothing to the national coffers.
“Southern Leadership Conference wishes to re-emphasize that Nigeria’s unity is only feasible on the basis of justice, fairness, and equity and only federalism can guarantee that”.