The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on Friday made a move to enforce its ongoing strike nationwide strike in Lagos State, where the industrial action was partially suspended on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that staff members of Ebute Metta Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos were chased out of the premises by JUSUN officers on Friday.
The staff members, according to NAN, were asked by the JUSUN unionists to suspend court activities and vacate the premises.
JUSUN had embarked on the nationwide strike on April 6 demanding judiciary’s financial freedom from the executive arm of government at both the state and federal levels.
This newspaper reported how the courts in Lagos State partially opened on Thursday as workers were asked to be at their duty posts and join the nationwide strike only on Mondays and Tuesdays of every week.
The national leadership had immediately issued a directive for a full compliance with the strike.
Jimoh Musa, the National Treasurer also informed this newspaper that officers of the union in neighbouring states, had been mobilised to restore the strike in full force in Lagos on Friday.
A national officer of JUSUN on Friday shared a video clip with PREMIUM TIMES to show how the strike was being enforced at a court premises in Lagos State with a notice of the industrial action being pasted to the wall and the gate appearing shut.
NAN reports that some staff members of the Ebute Metta Chief Magistrates’ Court were seen hanging around the court premises while others left for their homes.
One of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “the courts were initially opened on Thursday but the magistrates did not show up; today again in the morning we resumed activities but we were told to halt all activities and vacate the premises and wait for further instructions.
“Although we have been coming every other day, we always hang around because they deny us access to the court premises; hopefully the strike yields a positive result soonest, we are tired of being idle,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the partial reopening of the courts in Lagos State followed a directive by the Director, Administration and Human Resources, of the state judiciary, Kamal Sanusi. He had ordered the workers to be at work on Wednesdays to Fridays, and stay at home on Mondays and Tuesday of every week, in partial suspension of the nationwide strike in the state.
The directive echoed the plan for partial suspension of the strike earlier announced by the chair of JUSUN in Lagos State, Shobowale Kehinde, who claimed government and judiciary authorities were at the verge of meeting his members’ “auxiliary demands” in the state.
But following the objection of the national leadership of JUSUN to the plan, Mr Kehinde later backtracked saying it was a mere proposal by the Lagos State government and required the approval of the union’s national body
But some court officials who spoke with NAN said they resumed duties on Thursday on the directive of Lagos State JUSUN.
The union, through its strike which started 25 days ago, is demanding the implementation of section 121(3) of the Nigerian constitution and the January 2014 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja conferring financial autonomy on the third arm of government.
Nigerian governors, through the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who is the chair of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), had promised to begin to comply with the union’s demand by May ending.
But the union had dismissed the pledge which they say is not being matched with action.
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