The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) says it will hold a nationwide peaceful protest on April 19 to further press home its demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary.
The threat contained in a circular obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, is dated April 16 and signed by the Deputy Secretary of the union, P. Nnamani.
JUSUN on April 6, commenced the nationwide industrial action, which has now crippled the courts across the country for 11 days.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the leaders of the union resolved to embark on a protest after representatives of state governors and the federal government abruptly called off a scheduled meeting with them on Thursday.
The union in its circular seen by NAN on Friday, restated that the strike would continue following failure by the government to meet its demands.
It also urged its members to hold the planned protests simultaneously across the country on April 19, and asked them to remain resolute in spite of pressures.
“Further be informed that following an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of JUSUN on the April 15, 2021, it is agreed that the union will organise a peaceful protest in the federal capital, which will be replicated in the 36 state capitals in furtherance of our agitations, from April 19, 2021.
“Please note that if in case there are any invitations for negotiations/talks, you should promptly inform the national headquarters for guidelines and representations to avoid disorder in the presentation of facts,” the circular added.
Reason for protest
A national officer of JUSUN, Jimoh Musa, who acts for the union’s president, Marwan Adamu, who is recuperating from injuries he sustained in an accident, had told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday that the union was disappointed with the abrupt indefinite postponement of the meeting scheduled with governors and the labour minister, Chris Ngige.
He added that the executives of the union later, on Thursday, held a meeting where “it was resolved that the strike should continue.”
“In addition to that, we have also resolved that if we do not hear from them before next week, we will add protests to the strike,” he said.
He said the union would lead a march to the offices of the accountant-general of the federation and the attorney-general of the federation in Abuja for their refusal to enforce the relevant sections of the constitution that entitles the state judiciaries to receive their allocations directly from the federation account.
“We cannot understand why the accountant-general of the federation cannot deduct the money due to the state judiciaries from the federation account and pay it to them directly, and why the attorney-general has not been able to ensure that those constitutional provisions are complied with.”
The workers’ strike was embarked upon after they were denied their constitutionally guaranteed financial autonomy especially at the state level where the arm of government gets funds at the pleasure of the governors.
A judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered in January 2014 had affirmed the relevant constitutional provisions on judiciary’s financial autonomy, but this was never honoured by the governors.
JUSUN, in January 2015, embarked on nationwide strike which shut down courts for three weeks.
In May 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari issued an Executive Order 10 for the enforcement of the constitutional provisions on the financial autonomy of state judiciaries and legislatures.
The governors are against the executive order which they say is unconstitutional.
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