Law News
Adoke lied over our strike – Judiciary workers
Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria have faulted a recent comment by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, on their ongoing strike.
National Public Relations Officer of the union, Kayode Igbarago, said in a statement on Thursday that the minister was being “economical with the truth.”
The comment of the minister was contained in a statement issued on January 9, 2015, by the Director, Information, of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Charles Nwodo.
The minister claimed in the statement that the Federal Government was not in breach of the January 13, 2014 judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja which JUSUN is agitating for its implementation.
JUSUN members had been on strike since January 5, demanding the enforcement of the judgment which affirmed the financial autonomy status of the judiciary.
The judgment delivered by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja, abolished the piecemeal funding of the judiciary by state governments.
But Adoke had said in the statement by Nwodo that the Federal Government was not in breach of the judgment, adding that the federal court workers were only on strike in solidarity with their state court counterparts.
The ministry’s statement had read, “It is important to observe as follows:
“(a) that the Federal Government is not in breach or violation of the aforementioned judgment of the Federal High Court. This much has been publicly acknowledged by JUSUN in all their statements and deliberations;
“(b) that the strike is actually directed at State Governments that are yet to comply with the Judgment;
“(c) that federal courts are thus only on sympathy strike with their state counterparts.”
But JUSUN said on Thursday that contrary to the minister’s position, both the federal and state governments continued to be in breach of the judgment.
The union argued that the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, who was specifically ordered by the court to enforce the judgment, was a part of the executive arm of government.
Otunla is said to have failed to carry out the court order which directed him to be deducting the funds standing credit to the judiciary in the Federation Account and be disbursing same to the various heads of court through the National Judicial Council.
The union’s statement read in part, “JUSUN is of the position that the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice is being economical with the truth.
“The Hon. Minister is in position to explain why federal court works including those of the Ministry of Justice are not paid their salaries as and when due.
“Judges at state levels who are constitutionally expected to be paid through the National Judicial Council face the same challenges.”
The union added that Adoke, as the chief law officer of the country, and a party to the suit, failed to direct the Accountant General of the Federation to start implementing the judgment.
The union stated, “The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice should know that his office was a party as a defendant in the judgment of the Federal High Court and has refused to appeal against it, but could not as the legal officer of the federation refused or failed to direct the Minister of State for Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation, who are part of the executive arm to obey the judgment of a competent court.”

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