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Published On: Sat, Feb 10th, 2018

“We Are Not Owing Judges” – Okorocha Clarifies


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See statement of clarification below:

 

GOVERNMENT OF IMO STATE

PRESS RELEASE

RE: REACTION OF NBA, (OWERRI BRANCH) TO THE CLAIM & COUNTER – CLAIM ON WHO PAYS SALARY OF JUDGES IN IMO

v.  We have read the reaction of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Owerri Branch to the claim and counter-claim on the issue of Salary of Judges in Imo. And we want to approach the Association’s reaction this way:-

v.  The Former Governor of the State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim had said while unveiling his ambition to run for the 2019 governorship that the “State Government is owing Judges in the State 16 months salary”. He continued to emphasize on that until we decided to respond.

v.  In our response through a Press Release authored and signed by me, we stated clearly that the Salary of Judges is paid by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and not the State Government. And we then contended that either the former governor had forgotten this fact or deliberately decided to be austere with the truth.

THE NBA-REACTION

v.  In reacting to the issue in contention, the NBA Chairman Barr L.U.N Nwakaeti would have taken the position of a Daniel that has come to Judgement by stating the fact and still go ahead to make other claims he might deem necessary. But the truth ought to be told first.

v.  Unfortunately, the NBA Chairman, Barr Nwakaeti decided to play a “smart one”. He wrote in his first and second paragraphs; “The attention of the Nigerian Bar Association has been drawn to a press release by the Imo State Government wherein the Government absolved itself of the responsibility of paying the allowances of the Judges of the Imo State Judiciary.”

“The NBA states that this represents one of the lies and propaganda for which this Government has become known for. For the avoidance of doubt, the payment of the various categories of allowances like housing, motor vehicle maintenance, security, welfare, (up keep) etc are borne by the state government from funds provided for that purpose, whereas the salaries of the judges are paid directly through the National Judicial Council (NJC).”

v.  In the first paragraph, Bar Nwakaeti was out to deceive the public by hiding the subject-matter of the debate abinitio which is, who pays the salary of Judges in Imo, by talking about categories of allowances. He also intentionally avoided the source and particulars of the government’s Press Release he was talking about. The government didn’t issue any other statement on the subject except the one by me on who pays the salary of Imo Judges.

v  In the second paragraph, Mr. Nwakaeti talked about government’s lies and finally admitted that the salaries of Judges are “paid directly through National Judicial Council” (NJC).

v  Now the question is; who told lies on the issue of Judges’ Salary? The government that has continued to say that NJC pays Judges’ Salaries or the former governor who said and maintained that the government is owing Judges 16 months salary?

v.  The issue of who pays the Salary of Judges in Imo has now been settled in our favour. In other words we have been vindicated. And we are also going back to our records to deal with the issue of Categories ofAllowances which Mr. Nwakaeti equally raised.

v.  We also want to add here that NBA is not a Fans Club but a serious organization and those who aspire to lead the Association should be thoroughly scrutinized to see whether they are card-carrying members of political parties or coordinators of some governorship aspirants to avoid their using the Association to play selfish and disdainful politics.

I also crave the indulgence of all men and women of good tidings to reproduce the release I signed on the issue ofSalary of Judges in Imo for the sake of emphasis.

Sam Onwuemeodo

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

 
GOVERNMENT OF IMO STATE

PRESS RELEASE

SUBJECT: FORMER GOVERNOR, HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF IKEDI OHAKIM SHOULD PLEASE STOP THIS DISGRACEFUL CLAIM

(1)          The Former Governor of the State, His Excellency, Chief Ikedi Ohakim was reported to have announced his desire to contest the 2019 governorship election in the state at a Press Conference.

(2)          While doing that, he never deemed it necessary to tell his guests one achievement (if any) his administration recorded while he held sway as the governor of the state, from 2007 to 2011.

(3)          He also never told those in attendance what he would do this time if elected governor again in 2019 which perhaps he didn’t have the time or resources to do when he was governor.

(4)          He accused the Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha of owing Judges in the State 16months salary arrears and then threatened to go on protest naked if the salary arrears are not cleared by March.

(5)          When we read that report, we withheld our response with the feeling that the former governor must have been misquoted, and might do a refutal. He didn’t do that but rather maintained his position, occasioning this response.

(6)          We make hay to say this. If after being governor of the state for four years, the former governor didn’t know that the state government does not pay Judges’ Salary then something must have gone wrong somewhere and it is quite unfortunate.

(7)          The National Judicial Commission (NJC) pays Judges’ Salaries.

(8)          If the NJC handles the salary of Judges, then, the former governor was either distributing falsehood or has become overwhelmed by Governor Okorocha’s achievements that he didn’t know what to say again against the governor and his administration than to resort to jokes.

(9)          We are always painstaking when handling issues concerning prominent citizens of the state like Chief Ohakim who had also governed the State, otherwise we would have made certain calls. And in any case, he didn’t run an organized government and didn’t therefore know who was paying who.

(10)     Let Chief Ohakim publish his achievements for the four years he was governor, with their locations, or publish all the achievements of the PDP governments in the State from 1999 to 2011, or publish the achievements of all those who had governed the state from 1976 when the state was created to 2011 when Rochas came on board and let Rochas publish his own achievements. Let there be issues and not petty lies.

(11)     Chief Ohakim also ran for the governorship Primary of his party in 2015 and came third, which means his party members still have reservations over his tenure as governor from 2007 to 2011.

(12)     If one good tenure deserves another, should Chief Ohakim’s abysmal tenure also deserves another? The answer is NO.

(13)     We want to appeal to the former governor to look for another issue to talk about and not the issue of Judges’ Salary because the State does not pay Judges’ Salary.

 

Sam Onwuemeodo

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

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