Court Rejects Suit To Compel  Buhari To Enforce Anti-Open Grazing Law 

Court Rejects Suit Seeking To Compel Buhari To Enforce Anti-open Grazing Law

Joseph Bakare

The Federal High Court, Abuja has rejected a suit seeking to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to enforce the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law of 2017.

Delivering judgment in a virtual court proceeding, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit compelling Buhari to enforce the law and consequentially struck out the suit.

The suit was instituted by Mr Mathew Nyiutsa against Buhari on the grounds that the President, by his oath of office, incurred a mandatory obligation to uphold and preserve the law of the land.

He, however, said that the president failed to abide by his oath of office; when he refused to implement the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law.

The plaintiff maintained that despite the existence of the law, herders have remained unrelenting in practising open grazing; engaging in killings and destructions of property in Benue.

He added that the President had failed or refused to enforce the law, in view of his oath of office; by using the security and enforcement apparatus within his powers.

The judge held that the failure of the president to discharge his official responsibilities in accordance with his oath of office was not justifiable and that the court could not hold the president accountable for not abiding by his oath of office.

“In my view, the courts do not have the jurisdiction to entertain any suit; bordering on compliance with the oath of office of the president for the reason that it is not justiciable.

“When the person, in this regard, the president, fails to abide by the oath; the National Assembly, in line with the set down procedures, may consider its misconduct; in the performance of the functions of his office; and take the appropriate measures under the constitution.

”It is not the duty of this court to adjudicate on.

“The plaintiff may have genuine concerns in respect of the facts averred; but there are procedures set out by law to address issues concerning citizens’ rights and violations.

“There is no contest that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching establishment law 2017 was validly passed by the Benue House of Assembly and that the law is still in force; especially as the law has not been struck down by any court of law or court of competent jurisdiction.

“The implementation, therefore, lies with the machineries of the state and law enforcement agencies like the police; whose duty is to maintain law and order; and to secure lives and properties in accordance with Section Four of the Police Act.”

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