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Protest: Magistrate collapses in Calabar

A magistrate, Richard Bassey on Tuesday collapsed at the gate of the Governor’s Office in Calabar during a protest over unpaid 24-month salary.

Over 30 magistrates dressed in their full regalia began a peaceful protest on Monday. They appealed to Governor Ben Ayade to pay the salaries owed them.

But on the second day of the protest (Tuesday), Bassey collapsed at the governor’s gate and was revived by his colleagues who poured water on him and took him to a nearby hospital.

Speaking to journalists after the incident, the Chief Magistrate of Cross River, Solomon Abuo decried what he described as ill-treatment meted to them by the state government.

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Abuo said since they were employed, they had undergone several screening, adding that the protest was their last resort.

“We will continue to protest until we are paid.

“This is very embarrassing; in 2020 one of the magistrates was arraigned before a fellow magistrate over his inability to pay rent; most of us can’t pay our house rents and are squatting with colleagues.

“Is it wrong for one to serve the state as a judicial officer, are we supposed to go through this kind of humiliation,’’ he queried.

No official of the state government addressed the protesters since the protest began on Monday.

Justice Eyo Effiom-ita, acting Chief Judge of the state, said he was aware that the magistrates had not been paid for a long time.

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