Law News
Anambra: Striking judicial workers lock out tribunal judges

The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, Anambra State chapter, on Monday lived up to their threat to resume strike.

As early as 8am, officials of the union had barricaded the entrance to the state Judiciary Complex in Awka, the state capital, and locked out users of the premises.

Among those locked out were judges of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, who were supposed to hear the pleas at the complex.

Accordingly, litigants and lawyers were seen outside the court compound, discussing the development.

The judiciary workers in the state had suspended their strike in March after an agreement with the state government to pay them their demands.

But the workers, in a communiqué, said the government had reneged on the agreement irretrievably and that they had no option than to embark on the strike again.

Okili Akirika, a lawyer who spoke with our correspondent at the Judiciary complex, condemned the state government’s attitude to the development.

He said, “Every responsible government is under legal and moral duties to make sure that legitimate agreements are honoured and kept.

“Now that JUSUN is being compelled by circumstances beyond their control to resort to the resumption of the strike because the government failed, refused or neglected to comply with its own side of the agreement, it has really shown some irresponsibility on the part of the government.

“Anambra State government should rise up to its social and legal obligations. It becomes more worrisome when it is realized that it is even a judiciary pronouncement on the autonomy or independence of the judiciary that has led to this strike.

“Why can’t a court action, a court ruling or a judgment be obeyed and respected?

Akirika said persons involved in election petitions should not suffer unduly, bearing in mind the tenets of the law that Election Petition Tribunal must be concluded within 180 days.

He said, “Now that the premises of the Election Petition Tribunal has been sealed up, it behoves all stakeholders; the Nigerian Bar Association, political parties, civil society organizations and human right activists to rise to the occasion to ensure that this JUSUN impasse is resolved once and for all and ensure that alternative arrangement is made for the Election Petition Tribunal to go on with its duty.”

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