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OHAKIM AND OKOROCHA IN WAR OF WORDS OVER JUDGES PAY

A former Governor of Imo State Chief Ikedi Ohakim has joined the Nigeria Bar Association, Owerri Branch to demand the immediate payment of 16 months arrears of allowances owed to the High Court Judges by the State Government.

Addressing a news conference in Owerri, Chief Ohakim noted that the situation if unchecked would affect justice delivery in the State.

He said as a statesman he had the responsibility to speak for the voiceless and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene on the matter as the Judges appeared to be dying in silence.

Chief Ohakim threatened to lead a protest against the non-payment of the allowances if nothing was done by the end of March.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Owerri Branch Mr. Lawrence Nwakaeti had in a forum with some Legislators in the State lamented non-payment of Judges by the State Government.

A Judiciary source who would do not want his name mentioned because he is not authorized to speak to journalists confirmed to Radio Nigeria that Judges in the State were being owed for more than one year for no justifiable reason.

Reacting to the development the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Professor Nnamdi Obiareri, said he would not join issues with the former Governor whom he accused of playing politics with a sacred arm of government.

Professor Obiareri noted that the State Government believed in the equality of the three arms of government as provided for by the Constitution.

Meanwhile Governor Rochas Okorocha who addressed journalists in Owerri on the issue, accused Chief Ohakim of crying more than the bereaved.

He said that the former Governor was neither a judge nor a spokesperson for the judges.

According to Governor Okorocha, states only pay allowances to judges based on their mutual relationship and agreement with members of the bench.

Governor Okorocha noted that his administration recognized the independence of the judiciary, hence judges were free to rule on matters brought to them for their consideration.

CHINAZO ILECHUKWU

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