…Call-off strike, CJN urges JUSUN
By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
As Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), embarked on the nationwide strike, yesterday, activities were grounded at various courts in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
JUSUN had in April 1, 2021, directed all its states and zonal heads to comply with the proposed strike as from Tuesday, April 6th.
The union is demanding the implementation of constitutional provisions granting financial autonomy to the judiciary.
They are asking for the compliance to a January 2014 judgment ordering its enforcement.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has called on the striking JUSUN to call off the ongoing strike.
The CJN met with some national and local officials of JUSUN in his Supreme Court chamber to explore solutions and ways to mitigate impact of the ongoing strike in the Judiciary.
Earlier, the body, had in compliance with the strike directive issued by the union’s national leadership, shut the gates to the Supreme Court, Federal High Courts and other courts in the FCT.
Workers of other two key judiciary institutions – the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) – which share the same premises with the Supreme Court are also affected.
Staff buses were also seen making detours upon arriving at the barricaded gate of the Supreme Court.
Speaking on the situation, An official of the workers’ union says the strike will not be called off until its demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary is met.
Legal Adviser to the JUSUN in Abuja, Maryam Gusau, said the executive branch of government at both the federal and state government tiers, had turned staff of the judiciary to slaves by interfering in the third arm of government’s affairs.
She opined that separation of powers amongst the three arms of government in Nigeria is a mirage, especially at the state government level, where governors operate as tin-gods; lording themselves against Chief Judges of the state.
She vows that JUSUN officials will resume enforcement of the strike action as early as 4.a.m every working day and leave the court premises at 6p.m.
‘’We won’t call-off the strike until our demands are met,” she concluded.
A statement by Malam Ahuraka Isah, Special Assistant to the CJN on media and publicity strategy indicated that the meeting lasted some minutes.
The CJN however at the end asked the JUSUN to call off the strike while the process of making the state government to obey Order 10 and various court judgments on the autonomy of the Judiciary are being implemented.
“The unintended sufferers of this strike are better imagined than seen. It has spiral effects, including our children, the Federal Judiciary which is a lesser culprit.
“Ordinarily, I would say let me talk to individual 36 state governors, which amount to asking for their favours.
“But some of them would ask me to do ten favours in return.
This is why as a judge I am prohibited from asking for favour.”
The National Treasurer of JUSUN, Mr Jimoh Musa who led the delegation on behalf of the JUSUN President, Marwan Adamu said out of 19 members of the NEC, only three of them were present.
Their president, Musa said had an accident on his way to attend the meeting with CJN.
“We have to table the CJN’s fatherly advice before our NEC meeting and consequently get back to his lordship,” Musa said.