Tension in Kogi as Judiciary Director dies over 9 months unpaid salaries

There is palpable tension in Kogi State as a result of the death of one of the directors working in the State judiciary.

Mr. Zekery Aguye, a Magistrate and Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation), died after losing the battle to prostate cancer.

He died at the National Hospital, Abuja, where he was initially being treated before he was forced to discontinue the treatment due to his inability to offset his medical bills.

Asked to confirm the news of the death, the Chief Registrar of the High Court, Mr Yahaya Adamu, who was practically crestfallen, narrated the pathetic and unfortunate circumstances that led to the death of the director whom he described as one of the best hands in the state judiciary.

“I am very sorry to say that even as we subscribe to the will of Almighty Allah, who gives and takes life, you and I know certainly that sometimes there are deaths that are evitable. In this particular one, we feel it may have been further delayed if we had continued to manage his ailment as we were doing in the past before the judiciary was financially grounded.”

Pressed to expatiate further, he said the battle over Mr. Aguye’s life started since two years ago when he was diagnosed of the disease.

He said with quick appropriate response and the concerted attention of the family and the judiciary, the deceased received the right and necessary medical treatment.

According to him, e was taken to the National Hospital where he was treated to the extent that he even started driving his car by himself having survived the critical period of the illness that also affected his spine.

“You see, when it all started, we thought it was one of those usual ailments. But when it became obvious that he needed to be handled by specialists we headed for the National Hospital. You will agree with me that treatment there’s highly capital intensive. So, in conjunction with the family and other well-wishers, he was revived to Allah’s glory.

“He was subsequently placed on drugs and periodic examinations by the hospital which we consistently complied with. This process costs between 400,000 and 500,000 thousand Naira monthly, depending on the result of the tests. By the grace of God and with the cooperation of the family and others we were coping with the management of the illness.

” However, we started having problems with his treatment as from the middle of last year when Kogi State Judiciary started facing funding crises. At this point, his salary, allowances and even the little assistance the judiciary was giving him ceased to come. The care suddenly became the exclusive responsibility of the wife and the family alone.

“You’ll surely agree with me that couple with the children’s demands, it will be difficult for the wife to bear this enormous burden. As a matter of fact, before he finally gave up the ghost, he was withdrawn from the National Hospital for lack of fund! It’s at the critical point of his death that he was rushed back to the hospital by which time, it was already too late.

“So I will like to use this medium to ask well-meaning Nigerians to plead with His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, to save Kogi judiciary and the state from similar calamities by releasing the judiciary funds so we can pay the nine months we are owing our workers. As I speak with you, many others are hospitalized, their children withdrawn from schools and some even homeless resulting from tenancy problems with their respective landlords” the Chief Registrar added.

As he declined to comment on the industrial action declared by the Kogi State chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), DAILY POST sought the views of the Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Waniko, who also felt that Mr Aguye’s death cannot be entirely divorced from the non-payment of judiciary workers’ salaries since July 2018 which now amounts to nine months.

He said the union was still shocked and mourning the unexpected demise of the director. He said nobody in the judiciary would have.

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