The Judiciary Staff Union (JUSUN) and Magistrates Association of Nigeria (MAN) Nasarawa State chapter have separately issued Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura 21-day ultimatum to press home their demand for improved service condition.
Addressing newsmen after a joint meeting of the two organs on how to harmonise their positions at the Chief Magistrate Court 3 Lafia, venue of the meeting, the chairman of JUSUN, Comrade Musa Jimoh said this had become imperative given the discriminatory treatment meted out against their members by the hierarchy of the Judicial Service Commission and other Judiciary organs in the state.
Comrade Jimoh pointed out that the Judiciary Service Commission does not promote non-lawyer members of the Judiciary to Directorate cadre which is a common practice in other states, in addition to irregularities in promotion resulting to a situation where those who have strong backing and connection from the big shots in government get prompt promotions and appointments.
He also pointed out that for quite some time now government had neglected to prioritise the issue of leave grant and other remuneration of their members, adding that “some of our members have been given promotion for over four years now but their salaries have not been upgraded”.
While reacting to these allegations, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mohammed Abdullahi, said the” Nasarawa State Judicial Service Commission is vested with constitutional powers in relation to employment, promotion and discipline of staff from directorship cadre downward” stating that “the issue raised by MAN is not within the context of what is their right but a privilege”. He added that MAN and JUSUN are only being ungrateful to the government by selfishly demanding as their right what was hitherto only a privilege given out at the discretion and magnanimity of the government.
Abdullahi reiterated that in the Judiciary, promotion was not an exclusive right of a magistrate but it must be earned through hard work and dedication to duty. “Number of cases prosecuted, diligence, industry brought to cases, probity in relation to litigation and management of exhibits all add up to why a magistrate should be promoted or otherwise”.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the office of the state Chief Judge, Mr. Enoch Ali Maku, revealed that he earned his promotion to grade level 14 three years ago but was yet to enjoy the requisite benefits of the promotion due to non-implementation by government. Adducing reasons to this state of affairs however, the PRO pointed out that it was due to the laxity on the part of the leadership of JUSUN and MAN, because they had refused to fight for the rights of their members choosing instead to concentrate on how to milk the purse of the Union for their personal gains.