*Threatened with sack if they go on strike
Kwara state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has threatened to sack any Area Court judges and Magistrates if they embarked on their proposed strike action to protest their debilitating conditions of service.
The Governor is said to have invited the Kwara state Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Durosinlohun Kawu – owing to the relationship between the duo- around 12:00 noon of Monday 8th January 2018 to lure him into threatening the magistrates and Area court Judges not to embark on their proposed strike, sensing it will not portray his administration well.
The Area court Judges and Magistrates are angered over the alleged maltreatment melted on them by the state government over the years and planned to go on industrial action.
12 out of the 23 Magistrates and Area Court judges appointed by the state government in 2017 share courtroom with previously appointed Magistrates while the others were left to their fate.
Despite the fact that they are the least paid Magistrates and Area court judges in the country, the last time they were paid their full entitlements (wardrobe and furniture allowances) was in 2014, a situation which pushed most of these judges and Magistrates into taking loans and left with a monthly income of less than N10,000.
Many of them are reported to have sold out their vehicles, for some basic necessities and now rely on bike to transit to and from work daily. They are seen usually on the back of ‘okada.’ One of them recently fell off on a reckless okada which kept him down for almost five weeks.
Speaking with an Area court judge who pleaded anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, he narrated how he sold his car and some other properties to cover his children’s tuition fees.
He said, “when the suffering got to a stage, I have to sell my car and some properties to pay my children’s school fees.
The last time they paid our entitlement was in 2014. Now the government promised to give 40% to those of us in service before 2014, while those appointed in 2014 till date are to be paid 30%. This is so barbaric.”
Another Magistrate reveals how he was left to survive on N10,000 monthly.
“Due to the Kwara State government not settling our entitlement, I have to go for loans. Now, I am taking less than N10,000 home per month. So what are we talking about? This government is a shame and does not care about the welfare of her workers, he lamented with anguish and pain on his burrowed face.
Presently, the judges have worked for their employer on credit for two months without pay. The strike was meant to hold on the 8th January but were forced by coersion not to do the strike.