Cross River Chief Judge withdraws protesting 29 Magistrates from Court Sitting

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The Acting Chief Judge of Cross River State has directed the 29 Magistrates that protested against 2 years non payment of salary to immediately withdraw from court sitting until further notice.

In a public notice dated 4th January 2021, and signed by the chief Registrar Edem Okokon Esq, the chief judge stated that there is no conscientious reason to allow the magistrates to continue to work without pay.

The Notice reads

WITHDRAWAL FROM COURT SITTING

I have the directive of his Lordship, the honorable the acting chief judge of cross rivers state Hon, Justice Eyo Efiom Ita, in view of the state government’s inability to pay you salaries since your appointment in February 2019, you are hereby withdrawn from sitting in court till further notice.

There is no conscientious reason to have allowed you work without pay for all this while as you may be tempted to fall into corrupt practices in order to survive. There are in fact, a handful of reports already received against some of such magistrates hence this directive.

According, you are advised to stay at home until the issues of your salaries is settled.

We regrets every inconvenience this may cause you but it is necessary in the interest of our judiciary

 

Edem Okokon Esq.

Chief Registrar

Speaking to BarristerNG, a legal practitioner in Cross River said “This is really sad and unfortunate! With the greatest respect, the reason adduced is not tenable. There is an established procedure to deal with proven cases of corruption by judicial officers. It’s wrong to suspend people from working merely for fear that they may be tempted to indulge in corrupt practices. There’s no guarantee that all the sitting old Magistrates who are being paid have never been and can never be associated with corrupt practices. It’s purely a matter of personal ethics and integrity.”

According to him “The letter regrettably failed to specify where the learned Magistrates are to be reporting for work since they are not to be sitting in Court again. This is sad because they can’t resort to private legal practice nor engage in any productive work either yet they are to remain unpaid till God knows when!

“Again, I also feel strongly that the letter itself is incompetent. It’s tantamount to a sack. The Chief Registrar has no such power to issue the letter. Such a letter having the colouration of a sack ought to have come from the CJ personally or through the Secretary of JSC ” he stated.

See the notice below


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