* As Magistrates And Judges In Kogi State Unable To Discharge Their Responsibility

Magistrates and other Judges of the lower court in Kogi State are being owed salaries for the months of July, August, September, October and November 2018, by the Governor Yahaya Bello led government of Kogi state.

TheNigerialawyer gathered from a reliable source that as a result of the situation, it has become extremely difficult for these magistrates to meet their personal needs. It has also become equally difficult for them to sit in their various courts and discharge their responsibilities as magistrates.

It is believed that the Kogi state government has since collected its Statutory Monthly Allocations for all the months in question but consistently failed to remit the share meant for the judiciary to it to enable the latter settle the salaries of its personnel which has led to this accumulation in salary arrears over these several months.

Recently the kogi state government got its share of the last tranche of Paris Club refund but rather than give the judiciary its share of the fund to pay the accumulated salary arrears of its personnel, the state government is instead curiously insisting on a strange system of “table payment” whereby officials of the state government (ie officials of the executive arm of government) will physically pay judicial officers and other personnel of the judiciary their salaries by way of what the government terms “table payment”.

For the time being, The Chief Judge of Kogi state, the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of Kogi state, the President of the customary court of Appeal of Kogi state and the entire members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria(JUDSUN) kogi state chapter have all kicked against this arrangement by the Kogi state government which according to them is an attempt by the kogi state government to completely muscle the judiciary and render it ineffective and completely subservient to the executive.

This is clearly against the wordings and spirit of the 1999 constitution (as amended).

It is equally a wake up call to the federal government of Nigeria to implement the recently signed the Fourth Alteration to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides for Financial Autonomy to state judiciaries.

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