Buhari and Clark

Elder Statesman and former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to regard himself as the President of Nigeria and not as a leader of the Fulani tribe.

Clark stated this on Monday while reacting to President Buhari’s comment on open grazing.

President Buhari in a recent interview gave a positive nod to a First Republic idea that would see the return of cattle grazing routes allowing herdsmen trail designated paths across the country.

This move did not sit well with many Nigerians and some governors have also come out to reject it.

However, Clark also joined his voice by noting that it is unacceptable for the Buhari-led government to attempt an override of state governments on the issue of open grazing.

He said: “The decision on open grazing and other decisions taken on national interest by the 17 Southern governors received the full support of the people of Southern Nigeria, particularly the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the South-East, PANDEF of the South-South and the Afenifere of the South-West.

“The President has no power or authority to impose open grazing on state governments. Such illegal action which is a breach of the 1999 Constitution will not be accepted and will be legally resisted at all costs.

“Therefore, any law banning open grazing by state governments is not only legal and binding but is unchallengeable and binding on any person or group of persons, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“We will no longer tolerate hate and divisive statements targeted at deriding and insulting others, from these Fulani’s who believe Nigeria is exclusively theirs and other Nigerians are their subjects and not their fellow citizens,” Chief Clark briefed newsmen.

He added that the people of the Niger Delta have watched with patience the reckless and irresponsible utterances of some groups who have over the years threatened other Nigerians over grazing routes.

The elder statesman also warned the Federal Government and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) against conduct and utterances capable of escalating the crisis in the country.