CJN Backs Judiciary Workers’ Strike
••Union vows to continue action until all states comply with law
By Alex Enumah
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has said that the strike embarked on by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) is legal since it is aimed at realizing their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The CJN stated this Wednesday when some members of the striking judiciary workers led by the Union’s Deputy National President Emmanuel Abioye, visited him to report the position of the Union on the ongoing strike.
JUSUN had asked its members to proceed on indefinite strike pending when state governments obey the constitutional provisions of financial autonomy of the Judiciary.
The Union had in March gave a 21-day ultimatum but was not heeded by the government.
However, shortly after the commencement of the strike, the CJN had held a meeting with JUSUN leaders asking them to call-off the strike in view of its adverse effect on the justice system in the country.
Receiving the striking workers in his office on Wednesday Muhammad noted that it had become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since the rights of the union and its members which were clearly defined in the Constitution were 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”, Muhammad said.
The CJN according to a statement by his media aide, Mr Ahuraka Isah, however commended the Union “for following due process so far to protest against the injustice”.
Earlier, Deputy National President of JUSUN, Abioye in company of the National Treasurer, Musa Alonge and others, explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.
According to Abioye, for the strike to be called off, state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for judiciary in their respective states.
‘’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,’’ Abioye said.
He added that the union expect 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.
The Deputy National President said JUSUN was insisting that there must be some level of seriousness from all quarters by ensuring that 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.
According to JUSUN the budget of each state judiciary submitted to the implementation committee (received) on October 2, 2020) should be implemented with the deduction of the amount due to the State judiciaries 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.
Abioye explained 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.’’
Present at the meeting was the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadjia Hadiza Mustapha.