Magistrate Richard Bassey on Tuesday collapsed at the gate of the governor’s office in Calabar during a protest over unpaid 24 months salary.
About 30 Magistrates dressed in their full regalia embarked on a peaceful protest on Monday appealing to Governor Ben Ayade to pay the salaries owed them.
The incident happened on the second day of the protest as Bassey was revived when his colleagues poured water on him and thereafter, took him to a nearby hospital.
Speaking to newsmen 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.
Abuo said since they were employed, they had undergone several screening and 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?”.
No official of the state government has addressed the protesters since the protest began on Monday.
Justice Eyo Effiom-Ita, Acting Chief Judge of the state, told NAN that he was aware that the Magistrates had not been paid for a long time and said, different presentations had been made to the governor.
“The governor said he did not give clearance for their appointment, so, he will not pay them; until the governor changes his disposition, there is nothing anyone can do”.