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By NBF News

A seven-day ultimatum has been issued to the state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Anambra State chapter, to ensure that the five-month strike embarked upon by health and judicial workers in the state are resolved.

In a release entitled: 'The State of Anambra State,' which was signed by Emma Egbunonu, Maurice Efobi, Chidi Onyiuke, J. I. Iguh and D. U. Umeobika, who were the five chairmen of the NBA body in the state and addressed to the governor, the group noted that both judicial and health workers in February recommenced their suspended strike following the non-implementation of their consolidated salary scale and the health salary scale respectively.

The NBA noted that it had contributed immensely towards charting a reconciliatory course which the state government and the striking judicial and health workers ought to have exploited, adding that it had met and consulted with representatives of both parties at different occasions to ensure the urgent resolution of the dispute.

The statement read in part: 'Since 2008, the judicial workers and doctors have been at loggerheads with the state government over what they are entitled to as remunerations. This has resulted in repeated strikes by these workers, who have often withdrawn their services to press home their demands.

'The glaring effect of this unfortunate dog fight between government and the workers is the total collapse of the institutional frame work for servicing the needs of Anambrarians as regards to their entitlement to access justice and public health/medical care. As it stands now, the courts, general hospitals, health centres, government-owned maternities, among others, have remained closed for almost five months now. The real issue here is, what becomes of the rights of the people of Anambra State whom these institutions are supposed to service.'

It continued: 'Your Excellency, you are invited to recall that on May 1, 2011, the chairmen and secretaries of the five branches of the NBA held a meeting with you, wherein we prayed Your Excellency to meet with the striking judicial workers through their representatives to resolve the dispute once and for all in the overall interest of the state. We further intimated you that the judicial workers through their leaders had declared that they were willing and ready to sheathe their sword in the overall interest of the state if the state government makes a reasonable and sincere offer to them,' the legal body lamented.

The release, however, expressed disappointment for the failure of Anambra State Government to take advantage of the reconciliatory inroads, which NBA initiated, noting that the ugly development had deprived the people their rights to access justice and public health medical care as well as other dividends of democracy.

'The Government of Anambra State has once again made public that elections will hold sometime in October, 2011. Altogether, the government has been in power for more than five years now. It is on record that this is the third time local government election has been fixed in this state.

'On the other two occasions, Anambrarians and politicians therein gradually woke up to the realization that elections were not held. Owing to this, the political and infrastructural development of the grassroots has been stultified, grassroot politicians who ought to horn their skin and have them developed during these aborted council elections have had their hopes dashed.'

Honesty pay, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people.
By: A.C. Acquah