Abia State Judicial Service workers who have been owed for eight years have now heaved a sigh of relief following the clearance of the first batch of the arrears by the Governor Alex Otti administration.
The workers have expressed their gratitude to the governor for living up to his promise of paying off their salary arrears.
The workers, who had been owed since January 2015, earlier embarked on an indefinite strike against the immediate past government in the state, to press home their demands, shortly before Governor Otti assumed office on May 29, 2023.
They had demanded the confirmation of Justice Lilian Abai as the substantive Chief Judge of the state after she had been in an acting capacity for over six months. Also, they demanded the payment of the arrears of the Consolidated Judiciary Staff Salary Structure, leave allowances and judicial autonomy.
However, out of the four demands, the previous administration was only able to grant one, the confirmation of the Chief Judge, and that was after the then Governor-elect, Alex Otti, had declared that he would confirm Justice Abai after being sworn in as governor.
The intervention of Governor Otti and promise to pay the outstanding salary arrears led to the calling off of the strike by the workers, under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Abia State Chapter, in June 2023.
In fulfilment of that promise, therefore, the Abia State Government has begun payment of the consolidated salary arrears of the members of JUSUN, who have since confirmed that they have started receiving the arrears owed to them.
Consequently, the workers through their union leader and Chairman, Oracle Chinedu Eze, have expressed their gratitude to the governor and government of Abia State for fulfilling the promise of salary payments.
“It is with a grateful heart full of joy and happiness that I, on behalf of the entire Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria members and executives, wish to inform and appreciate you for the first batch of the CONJUSS arrears paid yesterday (November 15, 2023).
“Sir, we are most grateful and thankful. May the Almighty God bless you mightily. Amen. Remain lifted,” Eze wrote in a message to the Abia State Governor, through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ikechukwu Uwanna.