By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The national officials of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), yesterday informed the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) Ibrahim Tanko, why it will not call off the strike yet.
The JUSUN officials, led by its Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye and Jimoh Musa Alonge (Treasurer) told the CJN that the state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place some measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for judiciary in their respective states.
A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistance to the CJN, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, said JUSUN officials met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Wednesday ostensibly to give him a feedback on his recent demand on the union to call-off the ongoing strike.
This feedback is following the April 6, meeting the CJN had with JUSUN leaders where he asked the union to call-off the strike in view of its adverse effect on the justice system in the country.
However, at the meeting, yesterday, the JUSUN officials explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.
Addressing Tanko, Abioye said, ‘’Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, but others have to take steps in readiness for compliance.’’
In his view, the union expects each state to start implementing its self-accounting law to deal with the Internally Generated Revenue in line with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and that states without such law should put it in place.
He stressed that, it is his union’s position that there must be some level of seriousness from all quarters and as such, the amount standing to the credit of the judiciary from the monthly federal allocation should be deducted directly from the source by the Accountant General of the Federation and remit same to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward transmission to heads of courts.
He said, for the Federation Consolidated Account also known as Federal Allocation, the budget of each state judiciary submitted to the implementation committee (received) on October 2, 2020) should be implemented by deducting the amount due to the state judiciary directly from source by Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) in line with Sections 81(3) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for the states.
Explaining further, he posited that the AGF should deduct from the monthly Federal Allocation and remit it to NJC for onward transmission of the fund to the Heads of Courts at the State Judiciary.
‘’Until this is done, there is no going back, the strike would go on,’’ he maintained.
However, the CJN said it has become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since the rights of the union and its members which are clearly defined in the Constitution are being denied especially at state level.
‘’I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution. I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,’’ the CJN said.
The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadjia Hadiza Uwani Mustapha also attended the meeting held in the CJN chambers at the Supreme Court.