The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) Kogi State chapter, has cautioned the state House of Assembly against being used by the Executive to illegally and forcefully remove the State Chief Judge, Nasir Ajanah.
Emmanuel Waniko, JUSUN State Chairman, made the call at a news conference at the end of a peaceful protest by members of the Union on Monday in Lokoja, the state capital.
Mr Waniko said the union had uncovered clandestine move by the state government with a directive to the assembly to forcefully remove the Chief Judge at Tuesday plenary of the House.
“We are forced to make this call at this auspicious time following reports reaching us on the clandestine moves by Gov. Yahaya Bello, and his directive to the Speaker Matthew Kolawole.’’
According to him, the directive is for the Speaker to disobey the subsisting order of December 13, 2018, from High Court, Koton-Karfe, asking the House to stay action on the impasse between the executive and judiciary in the State.
“His Excellency had pronounced on the eve of the state assembly elections that he has petitioned the NJC against the Hon. Chief Judge in Nov. 2018, and ought to have waited for the outcome,’’ Mr Waniko said.
The JUSUN chairman urged the Assembly to steer clear of the crisis or rather use its constitutional authority to bring sanity to the state by calling the governor to order.
“We were last paid in June, 2018, which makes it nine months today that we are being owed our legitimate salaries,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Daniel Adinoyi, National Vice-President, JUSUN North Central, said the union had taken over the fight as the magistrates and judges by virtue of their position could neither speak nor address the press.
Mr Adinoyi added that section 121 (3) of the Constitution provided that funds due to the Judiciary should be given to the head of courts and was therefore, an aberration for another arm of government to withhold that.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Bello had in a broadcast on March 8, said monies for several months’ salaries for the judiciary staff were intact in banks.
He added that the problem was the refusal of the leadership of the state’s Judiciary, in collusion with JUSUN, to forward the staff payroll for a Pay Parade.
“My preoccupation is how to get that money to the innocent staffers without breaching applicable service rules or our Collective Agreement with Labour.
“I trust the Almighty God that reason will prevail sooner than later,’’ the governor said.