Lawyers kick against planned paycut for Imo magistrates

The government of Imo State has been called upon to desist from its current move to cut down on the more than eight-year old allowances of magistrates in Imo State.
This was contained in a recent press statement by the Association of Progressives Lawyers Forum issued by the association’s co-coordinator, Barr. Emperor Iwuala.
The press release was sequel to a recent press statement by the Governor of Imo State stating why he cut down the salaries of magistrates in the state.
Condemning the act, Barr. Iwuala stated that contrary to the government claim, there is no magistrate in Imo State that takes home  up to N500,000.
“I stand to challenge the governor on this. Even the comparisons he made with other states are all false. A Chief Magistrate in states like Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa  receive above N700,000 as monthly pay and it is not so in Imo as my governor claims”, Iwuala stated.
Continuing, the statement said that it was bad for the present government of Imo state to slash down the emolument of learned magistrates to the tune of 85%, meaning that a magistrate whose allowance was N100,000 per month will now be paid N15,000, which will discourage lawyers from aspiring to be magistrates.
Tracing history of improvement on the working conditions of magistrates in Imo State from 1994 to 2013, the statement added:
‘In 1994, the military Administration of Navy Commander James Aneke added security and transport allowances to the then salaries of magistrates in Imo State. In 2006, Achike Udenwa improved on it. The climax was in 2007 when Ohakim provided the first official vehicle and its maintenance allowance. All these improvement were contained in government published circulars. In 2013, Governor Okorocha ratified the 2007 allowances and it was backed by a government circular’…’
‘Magistrates in Imo State do not have official quarters. Many of them live in villages or are tenants in the town. Some of them live in areas where the people they are handling their cases also live. They handle robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other high profile political and dangerous cases. These and more expose them to high risks. Also, a magistrate needs to dress well to court, pay his driver and for security, pay his rent, medical, NEPA and other bills, maintain his vehicle, buy law books, buy petrol and maintain electricity generators, go on conferences etc. The worst of it all is that many magistrates have used their former monthly pay to secure loans from banks. Already, the present state government has successfully stopped paying them annual, duty tour, conference, vacation and entertainment allowances these magistrates were initially enjoying from past governments…, according to the statement.

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