CALABAR-TWO hundred legal officers in the Cross River State Ministry of Justice on Monday embarked on indefinite strike even as the state government had on Saturday warned them that it would apply the “no work no pay” policy during the duration of the strike.
The legal officers carrying placards stormed the governor’s office to seek audience with the governor to press their case demanding for harmonization of allowances with their counterparts who serve as magistrates across the state.
The Chairman of law officers in the state Eneji Amadiama told Vanguard that it was shameful for them as lawyers to carry placards in the streets but they have endured the situation for too long.
“Based on the document number 6 of 1978, there is parity between judicial officers and magistrates and what we are saying is that in 2016, the governor approved the harmonization and the magistrates have been enjoying theirs since July 2016, so we are asking for this parity to be implemented but they have been tossing us around”.
He said they embarked on a strike in November 2016 but were prevailed upon to suspend the action because it was not captured in the budget of that year and in 2017 it was captured in the budget but not implemented and since March 2018 when the budget was signed they have been agitating for the implementation which has not been done up till now.
Mr Eneji said they have written to the governor, the Head of Service of the State, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the state and have not received any positive response apart from promises which is why they decided to embark on the industrials action.
“If they say we should wait again till 2019, it is another gimmick not to pay us our allowances because at that time they will be elections and a new government will come in so we are determined to continue with this action until harmonization is implemented even if we are made to go without pay for the months the strikes lasts”.
According to Mer Eneji, said the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Joe Abang called them “illiterates” and “mad men” for asking for their rights which is an indication that he is not prepared to address their case.
Mr Joe Abang, the Attorney General in a statement stated that ” No work No pay policy of the Federal Government will be applied should the need arise”
“It has come to my Notice that a certain group of people under the aegis of Law Officers Association of Nigeria, LOAN, are planning on shutting down the State Ministry of Justice on Monday the 2nd of July 2018.
“They claim that the Government of CRS has approved but not implemented the harmonization of their salaries with that of Judicial Officers in the Magistrate cadre. This issue is in the 2018 Budget and presently being handled by the HOS Barr Ekpenyong Henshaw and the Accountant General of CRS. The Special Adviser on Labour to the Governor has said this group is not part of NLC and TUC and therefore cannot declare a strike against a Governor who has performed creditably well!”.