Tuesday, 05 January 2021 05:25

Cross River magistrates block gov’s office over 24 months of unpaid salaries

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Magistrates in Cross River on Monday blocked entrance to the governor’s office in Calabar to protest 24 months unpaid salaries.

The magistrates assembled at the governor’s office from the 18 local government areas of the state.

They wielded placards with inscriptions like “we have right to employment’’, “Magistrates in Cross River are thrown out of their rented apartments’’, “Ayade, pay us.’’

Speaking on behalf of the group, Solomon Abuo, Chief Magistrate to the government of Cross River, said the protest was their last resort.

Abuo said they had continued to discharge their duties to the state government to date in spite of non-payment of their salaries.

“We have courts that we are heading and we have been working for the state government to bring about peace and tranquillity to the society.

“Yet the governor (of Cross River) does not deem it fit to pay us our salaries in spite of our entreaties, pleas, letters, correspondences, screening after screening.

“After our employment and swearing in, we went through four screenings; in each of them, the governor will ignore the report requesting him to pay us our salaries, so this is our last resort.

“Right now, we have 30 magistrates affected across the 18 local government areas of the state; funny enough, the governor’s local government has the highest number and the state does not care.

“Is it wrong for one to serve the state as judicial officers? Are we supposed to go through this kind of humiliation? Those are the questions to which we want answers.

“We are all family men with children in schools; we cannot pay children’s school fees.

“Last year one of the magistrates was arraigned before a fellow magistrate for inability to pay house rent. Most of us can’t pay our house rents; we are squatting with colleagues and all that.