Stella Oduah, the Senator representing Anambra North, says the response of Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe on the controversial comment by Abubakar Malami was a collective decision by opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly.
Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, had condemned the decision of southern governors’ ban on open grazing in the region.
The AGF said the governors have no rights to prohibit freedom of movement and likened the ban to Northern Governors deciding to ban spare parts trading in their states.
In his reaction, Abaribe, Abia South Senator said the “divisive statement” by the federal government chief legal adviser “exposes a very dangerous mindset”
He observed that the disposition raised the tension in Nigeria to a frightening level and wondered why the AGF was fixated in evoking “ethnic, regional fault lines”.
In a statement, Oduah told critics accsuing other Southern legislators of keeping quiet that Abaribe’s view was jointly agreed.
The former Aviation Minister said the people must understand how the federal legislature works to avoid false categorizations and personal attacks.
“Senator Abaribe issued a statement against that ill-advised statement of Abubakar Malami, SAN, where he sought to draw false equivalences between herdsmen who invade farmlands, leaving them wasted, and spare parts traders who go about their businesses without doing anything to cause dissafection in their host communities.
“It is sad to note that ever since Senator Abaribe gave that well considered response, a section of our people have been attacking other southern senators for not following suit. But may I remind them that the Nigerian Senate is an institution with clear cut leadership structures?
“Our people need to realize that Senator Abaribe is the leader of the opposition at the National Assembly and for him to speak, we all had to meet and agreed on a position.”
Oduah stressed that under his leadership, whatever he says, echoes the collective thoughts of opposition lawmakers.
“I am by this pleading with our people to be fair to us and avoid this practice of pigeonholing us for we toil day and night to ensure your voices are heard at the center which is exactly what our able leader, Senator Abaribe is currently doing”, she added.