By Nick Dugba.
Lawyers serving in the State Civil Service are asking the Taraba state House of Assembly to pass a Bill that would improve their condition of service and welfare as others serving on the bench.
This was said during a public hearing hosted by the House Committee on Justice, Judiciary and Cabinet Affairs on the proposed amendment to the Law Officers ( Harmonization of Conditions of Service with Magistrates) Law No 3 of 2005, held at the House chambers recently.
Delivering his paper, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Apwenyang Yamusa Shitta, noted that the Bill was a product of prolonged deliberations between the Law officers on the one side and government.
He, therefore, appealed to the committee, the entire House and government to consider the following:
The fact that the Law officers have been subjected to deprivations, sufferings and untold hardship since March 2016 till date.
It recommends the immediate payment of the difference of the slashed inducement and hazard allowances to all the Law Officers. This is because rights and obligations under an existing Law cannot arbitrarily be taken away unless and until same is repealed or amended or abrogated, in line with Section 6(1)(c) of the Interpretation Act Cap. A4 LFN, 2004.
The Amendment to the 2nd Schedule to Law No 3 of 2005 now sought to be amended by Section 6 of the Bill paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), the words appearing thereunder (showing percentages of 6.7 and 4.2 respectively of annual basic salary) should be amended to read as percentages of monthly salary.
Also present at the event was the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), represented by the Chairman, Jalingo branch. He stated that the House should make payments to magistrates and legal officers from February 2016 and that arrears must be paid to them until the new law comes into effect.
Several submissions were made by the Magistrates Association of Nigeria,(MAN), the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria,(JUSUN) and others.
According to the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Judiciary and Cabinet Affairs, Bashir Mohammed, the stakeholders should intensify their lobbying power instead of coming to the House because it is not everything that can be catered for by the House.