By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar
About 30 Magistrates employed in 2019 by the Cross River State governnent on Monday protested over the non payment of their two years salaries at the governor’s office in Calabar.
The protest which started with a “lone man ” Mrs and her two children later metamorphosed into a full blown one with other affected Magistrates joining the exercise at the governor’s office .
Speaking with Vanguard at the Governnor’s office Calabar ,a Chief Magistrate in Cross River ,Solomon Abua said it was quite unfortunate that all their prayers fell on deaf ears .
His words : “We are the ones hearing the #EndSars matters, criminal matters ,yet we are being treated this way , we have written several letters ,to NJC, Federal government and other authorities yet ,we are still being owed .
” We find it very painful because about 30 of us have not been paid ,we were recruited alongside our colleagues from the Ministry of Justice ,as we speak ,they are still being paid as lawyers not as Magistrates ,but we who were drawn from private practice have not been paid since we were employed 24months ago.
” It is strange because this is the first time something of this nature will be happening ,we are being thrown out of our apartments because of our inability to pay rents ,our kids cannot go to school.
” Let the governnent for once do the right thing, imagine hearing criminal cases ,EndSars cases,l ooting cases and for two years you are not paid salary, it is most unfortunate, if you make your findings, I don’t think that there is anywhere in Nigeria where Magistrates have protested for thier salaries before.
” As we speak we are still working ,we have never stopped working , and won’t won’t stop working ,but this is the only avenue to drive home our demands so that the Cross River State governnent can pay us .
” We have written to the Attorney general of the state , Executive arm of government, Federal government, NJC, the list is endless , we never wanted it to get to this , 45 of us were employed , some were drawn from the private bar practice while other were in the ministry of Justice
Earlier, Her Lordship, Safiya Iyeh Ashipu, Chief Magistrate Court in Odukpani, staged a one-man protest with her family barricading the Governor’s office while demanding her 24 months (2 years) salary.
Vanguard learned that the Chief Magistrate, a single mother, took her two young sons in the early hours of Monday,with placards and stood at the entrance of the Governor’s office to protest her unpaid salaries.
Iyeh is one of the the 29 Magistrates employed by the Governor Ben Ayade led-administration and yet-to-be paid for 2 years.
She carried placard with various inscriptions including : “Your Excellency, I am a single mother of two. I have not been paid for 2 years, please pay me”.
Her two sons were also held placards with inscriptions like : “Your Excellency, My Governor, you have the power to help us and change our lives for the better. Please pay my mother” and “Your Excellency, My Governor, please help me to complete ENT treatment. Please pay my mother her 2 years salary”.
A top governnent official who pleaded anonymity assured that the matter would be sorted out . I trust the governor would sort the matter out as soon as possible” he said .