Senior lawyers on Thursday faulted the position of the President, Muhammadu Buhari on grazing routes.
They said his position was inconsistent with the nation’s constitution and was therefore calling for anarchy.
Buhari had during an interview on Arise Television supported the position of his Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, who had earlier faulted state governors’ banning of open grazing in their states.
The President had said, “You want me to contradict my Attorney-General? What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the First Republic when people were obeying laws.
“There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) were moving up country; North to South or East to West; they had to go through there.”
But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Norrison Quakers, in an interview with The PUNCH said Buhari’s move to foist a law that pertains to a section of the country on Nigeria was a call for anarchy.
He said, “If indeed he is trying to enforce a law that applies to a section of the Nigerian society on the whole country, then that law is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution. This is calling for anarchy and chaos.
“If you recall, Justice Thompson of the Oyo State High Court, some years back declared open grazing in the state unconstitutional and no court has been able to oppose that decision.”
Also, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) said the only way the grazing routes could be recovered was returning the regional system in place in the First Republic.
“The 1979/1999 Constitution is in use, there is no provision for grazing routes. What we have is the Land Use Act where the lands are vested with the governors,” he added.
Similarly, a foremost lawyer, Dr. Ikpenmosa Uhumuavbi, said, “The President’s comments, however well intentioned, loses sight of shifting trends in societal evolution. To start with, the legal status of the gazette the President mentioned must be examined against the provisions of the Land Use Act.
“Any attempt by the Federal Government to encroach into state authority for the compulsory acquisition of land will offend the letters of the Land Use Act. The President should save the country from possible ethnic clashes resulting from land disputes.”
Another lawyer, Mr Babatunde Ogala (SAN), while speaking on the President’s interview, stated, “Although, the President has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation to look for the gazette that created those grazing routes in the First Republic, I believe that the practice of open grazing is archaic and I am eager to see the end of it.”