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Cross River: Lawyers threaten to down tools over new salary package

Lawyers working in the Cross River State Ministry of Justice have threatened to embark on strike action on Thursday this week, over  failure of the state government to pay arrears of the new remuneration package due to law officers.

A letter transmitted to the Head of Service, a copy which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune in Calabar, stated that the state government has failed to give effect to the harmonisation policy in favour of law officers, against the background of the May, 2015, approval of a new remuneration package for the magistracy without extending it to law officers.

The letter, which was dated November 1, 2016 and signed by two officers of Law Officers’ Association of Nigeria (LOAN), Eneji Amajama and Moses Nkwo, Chairman and Secretary respectively,  further stated that since government was unwilling, unprepared and unconcerned about implementing the new salary package for lawyers, they are left with no option than to embark on an industrial action.

In the letter entitled: “Notice of strike action following the state government’s failure to implement the harmonisation policy in favour of law officers,” the lawyers reminded government that their ultimatum will expire on Wednesday, insisting that if nothing was done about their request, they will take to the strike option.

“Within fifteen days from the date of the receipt of this notice (November 1), the state government should pay in full the arrears of the new remuneration package due law officers as currently enjoyed by magistrates of the same call year,” the ultimatum stated.

They further threatened that,  “In the event of the state government failing to meet our legitimate demand and entitlement which we have endured for over a year now, we will have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action.”

When contacted for comments on the development, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Joe Abang confirmed that lawyers under him are not happy, but said “till Thursday.”

On his part, the Head of Service, Mr. Ekpenyong Henshaw told the Nigerian Tribune that government was doing everything to stop the planned action, stressing that the matter has persisted for years.

Henshaw, who served as the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry before becoming the Head of Service, had asked for parity between Lawyers in the ministry and magistrates, in July 2015 and the Lawyers said they were counting on his intervention on the matter.