My position on open grazing constitutional — Malami -GCFRNG
ABUJA – The Federal Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, yesterday criticized those who criticized his stance on the position of the southern governors on outdoor grazing, saying that everything he said on the subject was not out the scope of the nation’s constitution.
Malami, who stated this while answering questions from House correspondents at the end of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said: “Well, on the subject Of the farmers / herders clashes, the Attorney General’s Office did not adopt any position outside the scope of the constitutional provisions.
“The position of the Attorney General of the Republic is about freedom and freedom of movement among others … And what the Attorney General of the Republic has simply managed to do is refer to the relevant constitutional provisions and establish a position that everyone and each Nigerian has the right to freedom of movement simpliciter.
“So the question is whether that freedom of movement is constitutionally guaranteed or not. And my answer is that, in fact, freedom of movement is constitutionally guaranteed. “
Also responding to his position on VAT and governors pushing for states to collect the tax, he said the federal government was contemplating taking the matter to the Supreme Court which, according to him, has jurisdiction over such matters.
He said: “The VAT issue, well, as you well know, there were certain judgments obtained by some state governors in their jurisdiction and localities before their respective state superior courts, and they arose from those judgments and the laws that were approved by those state governments, The federal government filed an appeal against the ruling challenging the laws that were put into effect, which I believe has been determined by the Court of Appeals.
“The Court of Appeals granted a stay of execution order, ordering these state governments to maintain the status quo until the main appeal is resolved and these matters are being considered for determination.
“Some other governors have filed a roll-over request, seeking to unite on the matter as stakeholders. But again, a lawsuit and a preliminary objection in this regard is still pending, challenging the jurisdiction of the action and effectively the sentence that was obtained.
“But the federal government is still looking for other possibilities, all options open in terms of challenging action, action by the state government.”
“But one critical thing to know, as the issue is also being considered for determination by the court, is that the federal government is challenging the powers of state governments to legislate on issues associated with the collection of VAT.
“The position of the federal government as it is being examined by the judicial system is that, according to our laws, the powers to legislate on the collection of VAT are legally vested in the National Assembly. And with that in mind, it is not within the scope and powers of the state government to legislate on the issue of collection.
“So what I am saying, in essence, is just to give an idea of the multiple controversy between the parties that was determined as it was probed, presented for the determination of the court.
“In fact, we are litigating this matter before the court and the federal government is analyzing all the options at its disposal, including the possibility of invoking jurisdiction, the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, taking into account that the dispute in question is a dispute between the state government and the federal government, regarding which only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to examine taking into account the corresponding constitutional provisions.
“So, this is the position we are in with regard to contention between the parties related to the Value Added Tax.