Burdened by unbearable debts and worsening hardship, 288 members of the Cross River State Customary Court have cried out about the nonpayment of their three years’ salary.
But, Secretary of the state Judicial Service Commission, Austin Obongha, says the matter is with Governor Ben Ayade, one of the presidential aspirants of All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said the Commission has made a formal presentation of the matter to the governor, adding, ‘’we are awaiting his response.’’
Customary or District Courts are grassroots courts and Cross River has 96 across the three senatorial districts. Each district court is made up of a president and two members.
Despite not being paid since their appointment in February 2019, the 288 members have been discharging their duties, a situation the President of one of the District Courts who spoke on condition of anonymity described as “shameful and painful, we are dying slowly, we have not been paid a dime for three years.”
A member revealed that they had sought an audience with their employer, Cross Rive Judicial Service Commission in an attempt to understand what the problem is but to no avail.
“We had long written to our employer and to our greatest surprise we were ignored, no explanation, no communication as to why we are being owed. We have lost a colleague to the cold hands of death, and now our tenure ended January 2022”, the member said.
Their salary, according to a distressed member, “is meager’’, pointing out, ‘’the peanut they are not paying us has exposed us to all forms of torture. Presidents are supposed to be paid N41,000 while members are on N31,000 only.”