.. Freedom of movement’s Right doesn’t apply to cows-Abayomi replies Presidency
..Gov is the custodian of landscape
The response of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the development in Ondo State about the governor’s orders for herders to vacate the forest reserves and stop night/public grazing has been described as an act of intrusion and trespassing.
The governor of a State has constitutional right to act on anything on the surface of the ground being the custodian of the lands.
Human rights activists, Professor Peter Aborisade, and Dr. Tunji Abayomi made these submissions in their separate reactions to the actions taken by the governor to curb criminal activities in the state, which the Presidency issued statement to somehow condemn.
In separate interview with JATS News Publisher, Aborisade described the position of Presidency as an act of intrusion rather than colonising, saying that governor had right over anything within his state.
“The Federal Government has no authority over the landscape of any particular state. The only authority they have is anything below the ground of a State, that’s what the constitution says.
“Anything on the surface ground belong to the state and governor has every right to issue his own authority over that. Clearly FG is intruding on the authority of the state government and such should not be tolerated”. He noted.
The Professor of Communication at the Federal University of Technology Akure, also stated that to ensure compliance and enforcement of the orders issued by the Governor of Ondo State, the traditional rulers must rise to the task in their various communities.
“Any traditional ruler who failed to effect the orders in his community by harboring them for selfish gain must be made to face the wrath of the Government by either prosecution or dethronement.
Aborisade advised the governor to equip the Amotekun Corps for the task, noting that federal government had no constitutional right to dictate to the state on anything on its landspace.
“Any traditional ruler who is caught in this should be prosecuted, if need be, they should be dethroned. They have a big role to play because they are the ones who allowed them.
“The Amotekun is enough to take care of the orders because the Police is controlled by the Federal Government. The governor should use the Amotekun to ensure that no territory within the reserve of the state is intruded upon by anybody. He should use the Amotekun to arrest, it’s as simple as that”.
Aborisade who described the actions of the governor to be coming too late, with the fact that nobody ought to have had right to penetrate the Government’s reserves, however, opined that Akeredolu still acted within his right.
In his own contribution, Dr. Abayomi noted that the freedom of movement stipulated in the constitution is not absolute and there’s no right without limitations.
He noted that the governor is a custodian of everything in his State and possessed right to act upon it contrary to the claim of the presidency.
He said: ” I also understand that Shehu Sani was claiming that Akeredolu couldn’t ask the Herdsmen to leave forests. The point is this, in southern part of Nigeria there’s no free land, the lands belong to individuals or the community. And I don’t know if the freedom of movement allows you to go into somebody’s property.
“As I understand the law, that would amount to trespassing. Freedom of movement that’s guaranteed in the constitution is subject to the law of trespass. There’s so much noise about constitutional right of freedom, but I do not also know that it’s applicable to cows”, he said.
The Pro-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko stated that section 14(2) of the constitution had the primary purpose of a governor as the security and welfare of the people, which Akeredolu acted in accordance to in order to protect the people of the state against the constant attacks by a particular ethnic group.
“Under the law the governor is the custodian of all the lands in Ondo State for the people, not for Fulani Herdsmen, not for people that came from other places.
The custodian has the right to act on anything under his custody in the interest of the people. All the rhapsody put up by anybody, I don’t know the basis of it”. He added.