These two citizens of Cross River probably don’t know each other. Am not aware of any connection between them except that each had the courage to speak up, and by coincidence, they spoke on the same day, 4th January, 2021. Both must have individually resolved that come 2021, they must take action. Thus on the first working day of the year, each person moved.
Magistrate Iyeh Ashipu was employed as a magistrate into the Cross River State Judiciary and posted to Odukpani. She sits in judgment in her court; delivering justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will. Or at least that’s what’s expected of her.
For 2 years she has not been paid a salary. On 4th January, 2021, she left her court where she dispenses justice to others, to seek justice for herself on the streets. She took her two children to the gate of Governor Ben Ayade’s office to protest the non payment of her salary for the past 2 years. What has she been eating?
Chris Edadi also acted in protest but from exactly the opposite end of the spectrum. In his case, he was being paid by Governor Ben Ayade as a political appointee, but given no work to do. He got tired of the injustice of pay without work and resigned in protest.
He is not alone in the dilema of pay without work; estimates put his category of appointees without work at 6000 in Cross River State. The others are in quiet connivance with the Government, to receive wages without labour.
So how did we get here? Where, on the same day, one high official of Government is on the street with her children crying for 2 years of work without pay, while another high official of the same Government is resigning in protest over payment without work?
Is there no policy co-ordination in the Government? How do we have a situation where politicians are ascribed names in a fraudulent pretext of appointment, and paid from public funds, while judicial officers performing sensitive duties are left without salary for 2 years? When Magistrate Ashipu goes back to her court after her one-man protest, is she expected to also reject bribes and eschew corruption?
How did we get here?
Attah Ochinke Esq. is a lawyer and writes from Calabar. He is a former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice under the Sen. Liyel Imoke’s administration.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Attah Ochinke and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.