The leaders of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), on Thursday, met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, over the union’s lingering strike that has crippled all Nigerian courts for 17 days.
Members of the union had embarked on the nationwide strike to press home their demand for the implementation of the constitutional provision that confers financial independence on the judiciary.
Thursday’s meeting was the second the CJN would be having with the union leaders after the first one he held with them on the day the strike began.
A statement by the CJN’s media aide, Ahuraka Isah, said Mr Muhammad met with the union’s national officers led by the Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye and the National Treasurer, Jimoh Musa, at his chambers in the Supreme Court complex in Abuja.
‘I can’t fault reasons for the strike’
The CJN said at the meeting that it was difficult for him to fault the reasons for the strike which he said was a battle for the restoration of the union and its members’ denied rights.
‘’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.
‘Why we can’t end strike yet’
The CJN had at its first meeting with the union leaders urged them to suspend the strike to enable the state governors to meet their demand.
But Mr Abioye told Mr Muhammad explained that the union could not suspend the strike until the demand for financial autonomy is met in all states.
“Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, others have to take steps in readiness for compliance,” the statement quoted Mr Abioye as saying at the meeting with the CJN.
Mr Abioye also noted that the union expected each state governor to begin 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 also said 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.”
“Until this is done, there is no going back, the strike would go on,” the union leader had said.
The statement also revealed that the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadiza Mustapha, attended the meeting of the union leaders with the CJN on Thursday.