Law News
Judicial workers’ strike, a misdirected action – Lawyer

A Lagos-based lawyer and an expert in labour dispute resolution, Mr. Eteh Enobong, has advised the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria to first exhaust all available avenues to enforce the court order on financial autonomy for the judiciary before resorting to strike.

Enobong described JUSUN’s nationwide strike that commenced on Monday as a misdirected action in the face of failure to explore all the avenues provided by the law.

Had JUSUN exhausted all the avenues provided by the law to enforce the court judgment, Enobong said the union could have sued the specific government officials who failed to implement the judgment for contempt.

The National Executive Committee of JUSUN had directed all its members to proceed on an indefinite strike to protest the non-compliance of state governments with a court order granting autonomy and financial independence to the judiciary.

The judgment was given by a Federal High Court in Abuja on January 13, 2014.

But Enobong, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, said that shutting down the courts by JUSUN members was tantamount to visiting the wrongdoings of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the state governors on the judiciary, which ironically had given judgment in JUSUN’s favour.

He said, “The question is, how do you embark on a strike that affects the very court that gave the judgment you are trying to enforce? How do you intend to enforce that judgment? Or are you also punishing the court that gave judgment in your favour by going on a strike that completely stops its operations?

“Visiting the wrong of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Attorneys-General of the states on the court is certainly highhandedness. It is like victimising and punishing litigants and the court for a wrong that they have not committed. I think the best way is to go back to the court that gave the judgment.”

The lawyer added that by embarking on the strike, JUSUN had also blocked its own chance of approaching the court to obtain an enforcement order against the defendants in its case.

Enobong said, “My opinion is that embarking on a strike after a judgment has been given when there is no step taken for the enforcement of that order from the court that made that order is completely wrongful and unlawful.

“When a party receives a judgment in its favour, the rules of court make provision for procedure for enforcement.   In the specific and instant case of JUSUN judgment, all they need to do is bring an application for an order of court directing the particular officer to make remittance to the appropriate account on a regular basis, as per the judgment of the court. Where such an enforcement order has been made and any party refuses to comply, they can be committed for contempt.”

Meanwhile, the coroner’s inquest into the death of about 116 persons in the September 12, 2014 Synagogue Church of All Nations building collapse was stalled on Tuesday owing to JUSUN’s strike.

The coroner, Magistrate O.A. Komolafe, had on December 23, 2014 adjourned till Tuesday to continue with the inquest, which commenced on October 13, 2014.

The inquest could not continue on Tuesday as the gates of the Ikeja Lagos State High Court, venue of the inquest, were shut.

Click here to read from source.