4th March, 2021
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Some lawyers working in the 23 local government areas of Rivers have dragged the State government to court over alleged disparity in their salary when compared to that of their counterparts working in the State Ministry of Justice and other arms of government.
Joined in suit are the Local Government Civil Service Commission and the Attorney General of State.
The lawyers want to the court to compel the defendants in the suit to pay them the same salary with their colleagues on the same grade at other departments of the state government.
When the matter came up before Justice Polycap Aman, the aggrieved lawyers’ counsel, O. C Hgher-King asked the Court to enter judgment in favour of his clients.
He also asked the court to disqualify Rivers State Attorney General from representing himself and others parties.
But Rivers , Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacccheus Adangor, objected to the motion and urged the court to dismissed the suit with substantial cost against the claimants.
He said this was because the claimants in the suit were not employed as Law Officers but as Legal Officers for the councils.
Justice Aman, after listening to the arguments, adjourned the matter till March 16, 2021 for ruling on the motion.
While speaking with journalists after the court proceedings, counsel to the aggrieved lawyers, O.C Higher-King said: “What’s happening to my Clients is injustice. Why should lawyers earn different salaries and be treated differently. Those in the Ministry of Justice are treated differently. Their counterparts in the House of Assembly and those in the Ministry of Justice are also treated differently from those employed in the 23 Local Government areas of Rivers State. Why we are in Court is because the disparity is unfair and injustice.”
However, the Attorney General said the claimants are lawyers, but were not employed as law officers by the Rivers State Government: “Law Officers are the lawyers working under Ministry of Justice. When you’re not in the Ministry of Justice you’re a Legal Officer, so you cannot enjoy the same salary structure meant for only law officers. We have argued and of course we want the case dismissed”.