Open Grazing Routes Is Not A Federal Law, Buhari Lacks Power to Implement It

The Spokesperson of the Nigerian Senate, Ajibola Basiru, has rejected the call of President Muhammadu Buhari to reintroduce grazing routes in Nigeria.

Recall that 17 southern governors had imposed a ban on open grazing in the region after a meeting held in Delta State.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed states to revive cattle grazing routes across the country.

The president stated this during an interview with Arise Television which was aired last Thursday.

He said that he has asked Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami to begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.

Buhari said the grazing routes were designated in the 1st Republic when “Nigerians use to obey laws” but those routes had been converted.

“What I did was ask him to go and dig the gazette of the 1st Republic when people were obeying laws,” he said.

However, speaking with The PUNCH, Basiru says he is worried over the legal advice given to the president by Abubakar Malami.

According to the senate mouthpiece, the gazette Buhari was referring to was a product of a decree promulgated in northern Nigeria in the 1960s.

Senator Basiru stated that that the Land Use Act recognized by the constitution has rendered it ineffective.

“Nigerians should be concerned over whether the Nigerian president is actually getting the correct legal advice from his attorney-general and the legal team,” Basiru said.

“As far as I am concerned, as a legal practitioner, there is nothing like grazing routes or grazing reserve law, in the laws of the federation of Nigeria. There is nothing like that.

“There is no federal legislation that the president can implement over such matter. The executive powers of the president merely rely on the powers of the national assembly to make laws, when you look at Section 5 of the constitution.

“Any area where the national assembly cannot make laws, and there is no express grants of powers to the president under the constitution, a purported exercise of power by the president in that regard, will be null and void because it is inconsistent with the constitution by section 1(3) of the 1999 constitution.

“I am aware that there is a northern Nigerian law on reserve and grazing routes which was promulgated by a 1964 decree by the premier of the defunct northern Nigeria region.”

He stated that the decree for northern Nigeria cannot be a federal law, adding that Buhari lacks the power to implement such law.

“It is not a federal law unless the legal adviser to Mr President is equating a northern Nigeria law, which is not applicable in the west, mid-west, and eastern region or in anywhere in the southern part of Nigeria, to be a federal or a Nigerian law,” he said.

“The president does not have the power to implement that law because it is not a federal law. He can only implement federal legislation made by the national assembly or deemed to have been made by the national assembly.

“The grazing routes law is not a national assembly law, so there is nothing for the president to implement. It is regrettable that the president has not been properly advised by his attorney-general and the legal team.”

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