From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
The Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF) has lambasted Nigerian governors for what it described as suppressing the Nigerian judiciary and legislature.
The KSCF’s attack came in the wake of the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over failure to implement its autonomy as ordered by court.
In a letter addressed to the National President of JUSUN, dated April 15 and signed jointly by Ibrahim A. Waiya and Peter Hassan Tijani, President-General and Secretary respectively, KSCF noted that judiciary has its powers which it exclusively exercises without any obstruction from the Federal Government.
According to the forum, it is unfortunate that the governors who occupy a dignified position of authority in the country would choose to uphold some provisions and disregard some provisions contained in the supreme document of the land.
In the letter sent to our correspondent in Kano, the forum said “It is a public knowledge that Judiciary is one of the three arms of Government recognized by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. The Constitution has clearly defined the powers to be exercised by the Judiciary just like the other two arms of the Government which are: Executive and Legislature.
“Although the issue on the financial autonomy for the Judiciary has for long dominated national discourse, but obviously the Nigerian States Governors abhor it for reasons best known to them. However, with the trendy judgment of the Federal High Court in 2014, the matter was supposedly expected to die naturally by granting the Judiciary their financial autonomy. This is because the judgment was never seen to be challenged by any of the contending parties, but unfortunately this is yet to happen.
“It is however embarrassing as the Nigerian democratic journey attained more than twenty consecutive years, the Judiciary and the Legislature yet continue to suffer suppression and unfair treatment by the Nigerian Governors, even though they have their powers which they exclusively exercise without any obstruction from the Federal Government. Upholding the practice of the separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution is one of the sure ways to attain a fair and just society.
“It is unfortunate that the Governors who occupy a dignified position of authority in the country would choose to uphold some provisions and disregard some provisions contained in the supreme document of the land. This therefore negates the tenet of democratic culture, rule of law and undermines the general interest of the Nigerian citizenry,” the letter reads in parts.
“It is against the foregoing and in consideration of the long advocacy and agitations from Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders across the country which has apparently failed.
“We wish to as civil society organizations align ourselves with your decision for the industrial action as the measure which practically remains the only alternative to press button to ensure quick implementation of the financial autonomy for the Judiciary and therefore strongly register our solidarity and support to your Union on the ongoing strike,” the letter said.
KSCF further stated that it had learnt that discussion is on between JUSUN nion and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) as well as the Committee on Judiciary of the National Assembly, noting that “this is indeed a welcome development.
“ We however caution that concrete agreement on the implementation strategy for the grant of the autonomy must be designed, spelling out a clear timeline, commitments of the Governors on gradual and realistic processes towards the implementation of the autonomy for the Judiciary, and to be signed and documented before the strike is called off. We also advise that an independent autonomy implementation committee should be established by each Governor to practically show their commitment and sincerity,” it said in the letter.