Wole Ayodele In Jalingo
Contrary to a reports that Taraba Stateâ€™s anti-open grazing law has been suspended, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Taraba State, Yusufu Akirikwen has said the law remain in force.
The Attorney General equally debunked allegations in certain quarters that he wrote a letter to the stateâ€™s Commissioner of Police to release people alleged to be involved in the Mambilla crisis saying his letter to the CP was specific on the point of law.
Fielding questions from journalists at an accountability forum, â€˜Face the Pressâ€™ organised by Emmanuel Bello, Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Governor Ishaku, Akirikwen stated that the state government did not contemplate suspension of the law as stated in the report.
Describing the report as misleading and a misrepresentation of facts, the commissioner maintained that the Osinbajo Committee only recommended a review of three sections of the law and not its outright suspension saying any law passed and signed into law can only be repealed and not suspended.
â€œThe Osinbajo-led National Economic Council on ending herdsmen/farmers crisis only recommended the review of sections 23, 24 and 25 which prescribed punishment for violators of the law.
â€œIshaku as a leader yearning for peace has decided to opt for gradual implementation of the law even before this time in the interest of peace, but he has no power to suspend the law,â€ he said.
Speaking further, Akirikwen said since the law came into force on January 24, 2018, the contentious sections can only be amended by the state House of Assembly and not the governor.
He however noted based on the committeeâ€™s appeal, the state peace committee headed by the state deputy governor, Haruna Manu, would meet with the relevant stakeholders to send the proposed amendments to the assembly for necessary action.
â€œEven the governor has no right to suspend the law, itâ€™s only the House of Assembly that can repeal or amend the law.
â€œAs you know the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has gone through several amendments, but there was never a time the constitution was suspended and this will equally be applicable in this circumstance.â€
The attorney-general further stated that the governorâ€™s primary concern is to maintain peace across the length and breath of the state saying the current efforts are geared towards ensuring peace among all parties.
On his letter to the CP, he stated that there was a breach of the law saying with the establishment and commencement of the Commission of Inquiry in which all the security agencies are represented, it was wrong to engage the police to arrest those perceived to be involved in the crisis.
Besides, he disclosed that the Secretary of the Commission equally wrote to the police on the issue insisting that a suspect under the law cannot be tried for the same offence in two different courts at the same time.