Law News
Judiciary workers to decide on strike November 20


The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria will on November 20 decide whether or not to resume its nationwide strike.

The union on August 1, 2014, suspended its about three weeks industrial action which paralysed both federal and state courts nationwide to pave the way for talks with relevant stakeholders over its demand.

President of the union, Mr. Marwan Adamu, told our correspondent on Sunday that JUSUN’s National Executive Committee will meet on November 20 to take final decision on the union’s earlier threat to resume the strike.

JUSUN is demanding immediate implementation of the January 13, 2014 judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which declared as unconstitutional the piecemeal funding of the judiciary by various state governments.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola also ordered in the said judgment that the funds standing to the credit of various state judiciaries in the budgets should be deducted directly from the money accruing to the various states in the federation account and paid to the National Judicial Council for onward disbursement to the head of various state judiciaries.

Series of meetings had been held between JUSUN officials and top government functionaries in order to fashion out the modalities of how to begin implementing the judgment.

The last of the meetings held on November 5 at the instance of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.

But the meeting was adjourned till November 19 to enable the Chairman of the Federation Allocation Account Committee and Minister of State for Finance to study the summary of the 2014 approved budget estimates of state judiciaries which was collated by JUSUN.

Adamu said the meeting scheduled to hold on November 19 would be last the union officials would be holding with government officials.

He added that the union, through its NEC, would meet on November 20 to deliberate on the outcome of the November 19 meeting with the government officials.

Adamu said, “We fixed our NEC meeting for November 20 to discuss and deliberate on the outcome of the November 19 meeting. In other words, the November 19 meeting is going to be the final meeting between the government and the union.

“If the outcome of the meeting is positive, fine, but if it is not, it’s also okay. But we have an instrument to take decision on the matter at the NEC level.

“The Supervising Minister of Labour and Productivity, Minister of State for Finance, Accountant General of the Federation and other stakeholders met with us. Chairman of Commissioners of Finance Forum and Commissioner of Finance for Ebonyi State was also in attendance.

“The issue was discussed extensively and they accepted our report, which is the breakdown of the estimated figures. Though the Minister of State for Finance said he just received the report shortly before the Thursday meeting, but we proved that we delivered the report to his office since October 6 and the issue was resolved.

“They requested for two weeks for them to take the report to various state Commissioners of Finance to check if the figure was captured in the 2014 budget, we agree to that position but with caveat, that we are coming back on November 19 expecting that the issue will have been resolved and they have to accept the figure and tell us when the implementation will commence. That is, the Accountant General of the Federation should deduct the money and give it to the National Judicial Council as stipulated by the court order.”

Adamu reiterated that the union would resume its strike if the meeting with the government on November 19 was not favorable to its members.

“If the outcome of the meeting is not favourable to us, we will certainly resume our suspended strike action,” he said.

He however urged Nigerians to hold both the federal and state governments responsible should the meeting scheduled for November 19 fail to yield positive result.

He added that the Federal Government failed to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and the court judgment as earlier claimed.

“You can see that right from January 13, 2014, we have exercised patience enough to allow them to do the right thing. If they are not willing to do it, we are not willing to listen to anybody again.

“The independence and financial autonomy of the judiciary is non-negotiable and we will not negotiate that with anybody either.”

While commending the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, for her contribution to finding solution to the problems in the judiciary and her efforts towards improving the general welfare of judiciary staff, Adamu urged her successor to emulate her exemplary roles.

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