Refusal Of Cross River Govt. To Pay Magistrates, Not Only Callous But Unconstitutional — Falana
Refusal Of Cross River Govt. To Pay Magistrates, Not Only Callous But Unconstitutional — Falana
Refusal Of Cross River Govt. To Pay Magistrates, Not Only Callous But Unconstitutional — Falana
*Calls On NBA, Organized Labour To Support The Magistrates
*Says Violates Convention No. 95 Of 1949 Protection Of Wages
*We Shall Not Tolerate Impunity In Nigeria, Coalition Vows

Alliance On Surviving COVID-19 & Beyond (ASCAB) has condemned the refusal of the Cross Rivers State Government to pay some Magistrates for two years.

Gov. Ben Ayade has stated that the refusal to pay them is consequent upon the fact that their appointments were not authorized by the Government.

The coalition described the attitude as not only callous but unconstitutional and violative of international instruments.This is contained in a statement issued by ASCAB Interim National Chair, Femi Falana, SAN which was made available to ASKLEGALPALACE.

“ALLIANCE ON SURVIVING COVID-19 AND BEYOND (ASCAB) unequivocally supports the striking Magistrates of Cross River State who are protesting against the callous and unlawful non-payment of their salaries for the past two years.

“ASCAB calls on the Cross River State Government to immediately pay the backlog of two years’ salaries of the Magistrates.

“The alleged reason given by the State Governor for the refusal to pay the salaries of the Magistrates predicated upon the claim that Mr. Governor did not give clearance for the appointment of the Magistrates is totally unconstitutional”, he stated.

Besides, it was stated that the reason adduced by the Governor is not in accordance with the provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“This is because the office of the Governor is a creation of the Constitution. Whoever occupies the office of the Governor cannot act contrary to the provisions of the same Constitution. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, does not give any role for the Governor in the appointment of Magistrates.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, Part II, Paragraph C(6)(c) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution provides that the State Judicial Service Commission shall:
“appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the Chief Registrar and Deputy Chief Registrar of the High Court, the Chief Registrars of the Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal, Magistrates, Judges and members of Area Courts and Customary Courts and all other members of the staff of the judicial service of the State not otherwise specified in this Constitution.”

“By virtue of the provisions of the Constitution quoted above, the power to appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over Magistrates in Cross River State is vested exclusively in the Judicial Service Commission of Cross River State and not in the Governor of Cross River State”, Falana stated.

“By Article 12(1) of Convention No. 95 of 1949 on Protection of Wages, it is mandatory for employers of labour, including governments, to pay wages regularly within intervals provided by national laws, which in the case of Nigeria has been fixed to be monthly. ILO Convention No. 95 was ratified as far back as 17th October 1960.

“The refusal of the Cross River State Government to pay Magistrates two years earned salaries is therefore not only callous, but unconstitutional within the context of Section 254C(2) of the Constitution which has clothed ratified ILO Conventions constitutional flavour. In the recent case of SAHARA ENERGY RESOURCES LTD V. OYEBOLA (2020) LPELR-51806(CA), the Court of Appeal has given judicial approval to the enforceability of all ratified Conventions such as Convention No. 95 on Protection of Wages”, Falana added.

Finally, ASCAB has called on NBA Branches in Cross Rivers State and organized labor to be unanimous in protesting against the action of the Government.

“We therefore call on the Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Cross River State and organized labour in Cross River to join ASCAB branch in Cross River State in solidarizing practically in the street along with the protesting Magistrates for immediate payment of their earned but unpaid salaries.”

“ASCAB shall not tolerate impunity and oppression of any segment of the working class anywhere in Nigeria”, Falana, SAN further stated.

Managing Expatriates In Employment: Legal, HR & Tax Perspectives Edited By Bimbo Atilola Now Available...Place Your Order Now

In this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *