The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has expressed its readiness to table before its National Executive Committee (NEC) a proposal to reopen federal courts and courts in states that have complied with its financial autonomy demands.
JUSUN spokesman Jimoh Musa, however, warned the proposal, made by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), was likely to split the union, whose members are on an indefinite strike.
According to a statement by NBA Publicity Secretary Dr. Rapulu Nduka, Musa spoke during a JUSUN national officers’ visit to officially communicate the circumstances leading to the Union’s ongoing strike action, as well as to seek the NBA’s support.
JUSUN began a near-nationwide indefinite strike last Monday over non-implementation of judicial financial autonomy.
NBA 1st Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, who received the delegation, decried the failure of the State government to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Executive Order, No. 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 20, 2020, to enforce the autonomy of State Judiciaries.
He reiterated the NBA’s position as contained in an April 5, 2021 statement, that the timing of the strike action was “rather inauspicious.”
Aikpokpo-Martins pleaded with the union “to consider calling off the strike for its members in the federal judiciary (since the Federal Government has complied with the constitutional provisions on Judicial autonomy), as well as in the states which have given effect to the provisions of the Constitution.”
Responding, Musa expressed JUSUN’s dissatisfaction with the NBA’s “historical apathy to the autonomy of the Judiciary which left the Union with the unfortunate option of shutting down the courts.”
He however expressed the hope that the current administration of NBA President Mr Olumide Akpata will approach things differently.
Musa also bemoaned the failure of the government to enforce its previous undertakings with the union and underscored the union’s resolve not to call off the strike, until all its demands are met.
On the proposition to call off the strike for the federal judiciary, Musa observed that such a step would be a recipe for division within the union, as solidarity was at the core of the struggle.
He, however, promised to table the proposal before the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for consideration. He thereafter sought the support of the NBA in charting a new course for the Judiciary towards ensuring its independence.