By Jonathan Ugbal
The 29 Magistrates engaged from the private bar in 2019 and directed by the former acting Chief Justice of the Cross River State High Court, Justice Eyo Ita to suspend sitting may resume in their courts by April 1, says the Chairman, Calabar branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Ebiala.
Mr. Ebiala met with Cross River Governor, Benedict Ayade on Tuesday morning while policemen harassed Magistrates who continued their protests at Governor’s office, Calabar over owed salaries.
And, when he approached the protesting Magistrates, he pleaded with them to suspend their demonstration until April 1, 2021.
The Magistrates however said they needed a written document before they resumed sitting which also guaranteed that they will be paid the 26 months salaries they are owed.
Justice Eyo Ita had in a letter dated January 4, 2021 directed that affected Magistrates suspend sitting until their issues were resolved. The letter was made public shortly after this Newspaper reported that Mr. Ayade had asked them to forfeit their owed salaries.
The Magistrates had, after series of correspondence and meetings resorted to a protest in January.
In February, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata met with them and Mr. Ayade on the sidelines of the swearing in of Justice Akon Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge of the High Court of Cross River State.
But, the challenges were not resolved, and the Magistrates resumed their protests on Monday.
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