Apo 6 killing: JUSUN strike stalls trial of police officers

Apo six

The Apo 6 were killed in 2005.

The trial, in an Abuja High Court, of six police officers charged with the alleged killing of six Abuja auto-spare parts dealers in 2005, suffered a setback on Thursday due to the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN.

The accused police officers are Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami (at large), Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba, Emmanuel Acheneje and Sadiq Salami.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation accused the police officers of killing Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun.

The deceased, aged between 21 and 25 years, were returning from a night party in 2005 when they were allegedly killed.

The trial suffered several adjournments due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Anambra Election Petitions Tribunal.

The matter, which was adjourned for continuation of hearing, could not go on because JUSUN directed all Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court, Court of appeal, Federal High Courts and the Abuja High Court to join the strike.

The National President of JUSUN, Marwan Adamu, also directed members in the FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, FCT Customary Court of Appeal, National Industrial Court, Federal Judicial Service Commission, National Judicial Council and the FCT Judicial Service Commission to join the strike.

The union members blocked the entrance to the Abuja High Court, Maitama, on Thursday. Lawyers, litigants and judiciary workers were prevented by security men from entering into the court’s premises.

The Hilux Bus conveying inmates, including the accused police officers, from the Kuje Prison, in Abuja, was also disallowed from entering the court premises.

The FCT Chairman of the union, Hassan Chindo, said that the strike would be sustained until the union’s demands were met.

“This action will affect the smooth function of the courts, considering the volume of cases in the lower courts. The strike is all about financial and total independence of the Judiciary,” he said.

On Friday, July 11, JUSUN ordered its members nationwide to begin an indefinite at the end of its emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee.

The strike began following the failure of state governments to implement a Federal High Court, Abuja, order granting financial autonomy to state judiciaries.

Other demands were failure of stakeholders to abide by the decision to set up a technical implementation committee of the FAAC meeting of June 17.

A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola on January 14 restrained the Federal Government and the 36 state governors from holding on to funds meant for the judiciary.

Mr. Ademola ruled that funds meant for the judiciary should rather be disbursed directly to the heads of court and not to the executive arm of government.

The suit was filed by JUSUN.

In the ruling, Mr. Ademola held that the practice of the executive disbursing funds to the judiciary was unconstitutional and also threatened the independence of the judiciary.

He maintained that the era of the judiciary begging the executive for fund was over.
He issued an order compelling the defendants to comply with the provisions of sections 81(3), 212(3) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in the disbursement of funds to the heads of courts forthwith. He, therefore, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from committing any further breach of the aforesaid constitutional/statutory provisions.

While noting that both the National Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, enjoyed independence of funding , the judge said the same should be applied to the judiciary in accordance with the constitution.

(NAN)


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