Law News
Judicial workers abusing strike -Lagos AG

The Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, on Thursday accused the striking judicial workers in the country of abusing the concept of industrial action.

The judicial workers, under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, had on January 5 proceeded on an industrial action in protest against the non-compliance of state governments with a Federal High Court judgement upholding the financial independence and autonomy of the Judiciary.

But Ipaye, who spoke at the 11th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture in Lagos, noted that industrial actions were associated with factory workers as a means of protesting poor working conditions and welfare, wherein the employer loses or suffers when the workers withdraw their services.

He said that strike was inappropriate in the case of JUSUN because it was the poor masses, and not their employer, who was suffering as a result of closure of courts.

He noted that many accused persons, who should have applied for bail, were languishing in detention while many businessmen were stranded. He noted that legal practitioners had also been made to proceed on a forced holiday due to the ongoing strike.

Ipaye berated JUSUN for shutting down the courts and preventing the judges from gaining entrance, saying the union was setting a dangerous precedence in the country.

He said, “But when you bring this concept (industrial action) into public service, with judicial workers going on strike, who is going to suffer? It is the poor victims or accused persons awaiting trial; it is the poor litigants trying to fight for their rights who have been in court for so many years without result, now they have no hope.

“Now judicial workers lock out our judges and I think that this is a dangerous precedence. Not only have they chosen not to go to work but they have locked the gates to the courts, so that the judges themselves cannot function. And now that is a bad precedence because each of the judges has his own judicial power and if they could access their chambers, maybe at your convenience, you can at least get some order but when the whole system is sacked and our leaders are not even bothered and they are not talking, then I think that it is a very terrible trend.”

The Lagos Attorney General warned that the strike may spell doom for the nation’s economy as it could discouarge intending foreign investors wishing to do business in the country.

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