A legal expert, Dr. Viashima Akaayar, has said the Nigerian constitution is in support of the planned move by the Southern governors to implement the ban on open grazing.
Akaayar of the Department of Commercial & Industrial Law, University of Lagos, said the state governments have the constitutional powers to enact laws on internal security.
He spoke with newsmen at a gathering hosted by the Benue State Students Alumni of the University of Lagos, Akoka to honour and endorse him for the President of the Tiv community in Lagos.
According to him, the anti-open grazing law is covered under the tenets of the constitution since it is within the authority of that tier of government.
He said President Muhammad Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federal (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami lack the powers to stop the governors from implementing the laws.
Akaayar said the anti-open grazing law is valid and enforceable “irrespective of what AGF may thinks”.
He said, “First and foremost, the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) empowered the State House of Assembly to enact laws for the good governance of that State. Specifically, the State Governments have Constitutional powers to enact laws on internal security.
“It was in line with these constitutional powers that the Benue State Government enacted Anti-open Grazing Law. At the moment there is no judgment that invalidated the Enacted Law.
“With due respect, it is a valid and enforceable law in Nigeria irrespective of what AGF may think. Remember, only a court of competent jurisdiction can set aside any law that is validly enacted in Nigeria. With due respect, AGF is entitled to his own opinion, but AGF is not a competent court.
“Secondly, any law that is validly enacted usually provides for the parameters of its enforcement. The Benue Anti-open Grazing Law is not an exception. In fact the Benue State Government has already started implementation in line with the provisions of the said law.
“This is commendable. What is at stake now is the protection of lives and properties. With due respect, any person that has issues with the said law should challenge it in court,” the lawyer said.