Seven Plateau State judges have written to Governor Simon Lalong demanding payment of their outstanding allowances amounting to N119,112,840 or resort to court action.
The judges stated that the government failed to pay them the amounts being payment in lieu of accommodation as contained in “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances etc) Amendment Act, 2008.’
This was contained in a ‘Letter of demand’ dated September 8, 2020 sent by the judges through their lawyer, Matthew Opokuma Esq of Adeniyi Akintola SAN and Co, to the government.
The judges gave the governor a two weeks’ ultimatum to comply with their demand.
The judges are: Justices Muhammad I. Sirajo, Christine L. Dabup, Arum I. Ashom, lliya I. Kunda, Samson P. Gang, Nanpon J. Dadi, and Nafisa L. Musa.
According to them, the state government failed to pay their allowances for 2016 to 2020 being annual basic salary of N41,804,740.20; 200% of basic salary of N13,609,480 and accommodation for five years of N3,609,480, totaling N418,047,400.
Two other judges, Justices Dadi and Musa, are demanding accommodation allowance for four years – 2017 to 2020 – totaling N14, 437,920.
They further explained that the total accommodation allowance owed the five judges is N90, 237,000 while that of the two is N428, 875,840, totalling N119, 112, 840.
“To clients’ surprise, fellow judges and judicial officers of the Customary Court of Appeal have been paid their accommodation allowance to 2019.
“Our clients are in the dark as to why up to this year such treatment has been meted out to them.
“Indeed, the basis for this discrimination remains unknown,” the lawyer wrote.
When contacted for his reaction, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang, said he would neither confirm nor deny the issue as it was yet to be brought to his notice.
He said with respect to payment of salaries, emoluments, allowances and pension, the Plateau State government has been paying.
According to him, the state government has a fantastic working relationship with the judiciary, legislature, among others.
But should there be any such case, he said, it was not deliberate, adding that they would investigate the matter.