Imo lawyers protest cut salaries, suspension of directors

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  • They are indolent, says Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha

Legal officers in Imo State Ministry of Justice yesterday marched through the streets of Owerri to protest non-payment of their eight months’ salary arrears and unlawful suspension of seven directors of legal ser­vices.

Wearing their black and white gowns, the law officers numbering over 20 under the aegis of Law Officers Association of Nigeria, LOAN, Imo State branch, noted that, “this is the first time in the history of the state law officers are subjected to such unwar­ranted conditions.”

Addressing newsmen shortly after they had con­verged on Government House, Owerri, Chairman of the association, Pius Nwanyanwu, disclosed that the state government had not paid the salaries and allowances of its law officers since May this year.

Nwanyanwu also noted that Governor Rochas Okorocha suspended seven directors of legal services for no just reason.

“The law officers and in­deed the entire Imo people have described these ac­tions as deliberate punish­ment of law officers and their families since May 2015,” he stated.

Despite all these, the law officers said they had tried beyond human endurance to keep themselves on duty till date, adding that after carefully considering all these actions and inactions militating against their of­ficial duties and welfare, they resolved that from Monday, December 14, they will keep away from all of­ficial duties and offices till their salaries and allow­ances were paid in full.

They called on the gov­ernment to recall the sus­pended directors, restore means of funding all gov­ernment cases, provide office for Director Public Prosecution, DPP, armed policemen like before, pay law officers four years ar­rears of both annual prac­ticing fees and bar confer­ence fees and Duty Tour Allowances, DTA.

Receiving complaints of the law officers on behalf of the state government, Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor, Kingsley Uju, promised to deliver their message to the governor, adding that their grievanc­es would be addressed.

However, Governor Okorocha while address­ing journalists earlier on current issues in the state, chided the law officers by saying they had never won a single case for the state since 2011 he assumed of­fice.

“Since I came here, the state has never won any case through the Ministry of Justice, the state has lost over 2,000 cases in­volving it and others and yet I pay the law officers 200 times more than what their colleagues collect in other states of the federa­tion. Take, for instance, a level 8 officer in the Min­istry of Justice in Anam­bra State collects N57,000, others pay N170,000 as sal­ary, in Imo we pay them N490,000 and I asked them if I can I bring it down to 200,000, they said no, then I paid the N200,000 into the bank and they refused to collect it, that is the prob­lem, I don’t owe them.” (National Mirror)

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