Athanatius Okerafor, Jalingo.
The leadership of Jalingo branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Tuesday, issued a two-day ultimatum to the Taraba State government to stop what it described as, “all illegal and unlawful deductions of salaries of law officers and magistrates in the employment of the state government”.
Taraba state is governed by Mr. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Patr (PDP).
The Association, which made its position known through the branch Chairman, Idris Abdullahi Jalo, while briefing journalists in Jalingo said, failure to comply with the directive will lead to a one-week boycott of all Courts in the state by all lawyers. He warned that the boycott would be followed by stronger protests should the governor fail to offset the salary arrears.
According to Jalo, the Association had during its extra ordinary session, held on May 6, 2016 at the Justice Adamu Aliyu Bar Centre, Jalingo, “noted with dismay the illegal and unlawful deductions of salaries of law officers and Magistrates by the Taraba State government from February, 2016 to date.
Outcome of the above stated session, Jalo said, was the resolution that the illegal and unlawful deductions of salaries of law officers and magistrates in the employment of Taraba State Government be stopped forthwith.
He further added that all monies deducted from the salaries of Law Officers and Magistrates from the month of February, 2016 to date be returned to the affected Law Officers and Magistrates immediately.
“That the implementation of extant harmonization law of 2005 be sustained”
“That the harmonization of law 2005 cannot be negotiated by the Taraba State Government”
“That the Taraba State Government has been given a two-day ultimatum to comply with the demands of the Nigerian Bar Association, Jalingo branch, as it affects the salaries of law officers and Magistrates in the state, failing which there will be a boycott of all Courts in Taraba State for one week by all lawyers after which further stiffer action will be taken by the Bar until the Association’s demands are met”, he said.
In their separate contributions, other executive members, said the state government should be mindful of the fact that there is an existing law which must not be compromised.
“The government officials know what to do, they should go ahead and do it and should not cut corners”, they said.
“They should restore back the salaries deducted, we should be talking about upward review of salaries and not slashing of salaries”, they added.