Seven Judges of the Plateau State Judiciary, have engaged the services of the law firm of Chief Adeniyi Akintola SAN & Co, to demand from the Plateau State Government the sum of N119,112,840 being the accumulated entitlement of allowances and accommodation ranging from between four and five years.
Five of the judicial officers claim that they have not been paid for five years, while the other two claim that they have been owed for four years. The Judges alleged that Governor Lalong, a Lawyer, deliberately seized their entitlements while paying other judicial officers regularly.
In a letter dated September 8, 2020 to Governor Lalong, their lawyer, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, states that his Clients demand that they be paid their total entitlements within two weeks, or they will file an action against the Governor. According to them, Lalong gave no reason for the delay in payment or his refusal to pay.
The letter signed by Matthew Opukumo for Chief Akintola, reads: “We have our Clients’ instructions to the effect that, by the Act which prescribes salaries and allowances for judicial officers nationwide, it is the exclusive responsibility of the various State Governments to provide all judicial officers roofs over their heads, and ensure ease of their mobility to wit; provision of vehicles and decent accommodation for them”.
“Our Clients informed us further that, in Plateau State, the government has over the years found it more convenient to pay Judges 200 per cent of their annual basic salary yearly in lieu of accommodation, until the year 2015 when same stopped.
“To our Clients’ surprise, fellow Judges and judicial officers of the Customary Court of Appeal have been paid their accommodation allowance up to the year 2019.”
Akintola stated that the Judges were in the dark as to why such treatment was meted out to them. He said: “The basis for this discrimination remains unknown”.
“Whilst our Clients’ allowances were left unpaid and have remained unpaid till date, the Plateau State Government, in an unprecedented manner, went ahead to pay a whooping three years’ accommodation allowance in advance to brother Judges, who were appointed in May, 2019.”