A human rights lawyer, Odion Odia, has urged the government to take all necessary steps to meet the demands by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
Odia, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that it was important for such steps to be taken before the end of the ultimatum issued by the union.
He said that the recurrent strike by judiciary workers had affected the judicial system and hindered the speedy dispensation of justice in the country.
“The claims of the JUSUN are legitimate. Secondly, strike is also a legitimate means of airing grievances and views.
“The reasons for going on strike are legitimate because there is a bridge of the constitution in the allocation of funds.
“The government should have known that if these people embark on strike it will impair the wheel of justice.
“So many people in prison should have been released by now. So many cases that ought to be in court are not in court.
“And this time they were on recess or this compulsory strike action, before our judiciary, that is already slow will be able to catch up, it will take months,” he said.
The lawyer said that in view of the important role of the judiciary in the entrenchment of democracy and the rule of law, its independence was vital.
“For the independence of the judiciary to be guaranteed we have to follow the laid down provisions of our laws.
“The judiciary should not be going cap-in-hand to the executive for its salaries and allowances; a good example is the JUSUN strike.
“If you look at the last budget submitted by the judiciary to the legislature, it was slashed by more than 40 per cent. When you are underfunding the judiciary, it cannot guarantee its independence,” Odia stressed. (NAN)