Months Of Unpaid Salaries Led To Death Of Kogi Magistrate, Says Chief Registrar

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Tension has continued to rise over the death of Zekery Aguye, former Kogi State Magistrate and Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation), with his demise attributed to non-payment of salaries and allowances.

Aguye, who was battling prostate cancer, was forced to stop treatment as he could not afford payment of medical bills.

Yahaya Adamu, Chief Registrar of the state High Court, attributed the death of Aguye to lack of money, saying his death could have been avoided if the judiciary was not financially grounded.

He said: “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.

"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 is highly capital intensive. So, in conjunction with the family and other wells wishers, he was revived.

“He was subsequently placed on drugs and periodic examinations by the hospital, which we consistently complied with. This processes costs between N400,000 and N500,000 monthly, depending on the result of the tests.”

Adamu said the deceased's funds were cut when the state judiciary’s funds was grounded. He added that he was forced to stop treatment because he could not afford money to pay his medical bills.

“We started having problems with his treatment as from the middle of last year when the 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 anymore. His care suddenly became the exclusive responsibility of the wife and the family alone. You’ll surely agree with me that, coupled 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“As a matter of fact, before he finally gave up the ghost, he was withdrawn from the National Hospital for lack of funds. It was at the critical point of his death that he was rushed back to the hospital, by which time it was already too late.”

Adamu appealed to Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State, to release the funds of the judiciary to avoid such occurrences in the future.

“As I speak with you, many others are hospitalised, their children were withdrawn from schools and some even homeless, resulting from tenancy problems with their respective landlords.

“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 owe our workers.”

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