JUSUN Strike: What Is The Way Forward?

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The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, has directed lawyers nationwide to stage a protest on Monday to demand financial autonomy for the judiciary. It is apparent that the earlier foreseen light at the end of the tunnel has been covered with dark clouds as the situation is awry nationwide.

It has been two weeks since the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria commenced their strike action on the 6th of April 2021. The Governors  have pledged since Thursday 15th April to begin implementation of the Judiciary’s financial autonomy latest May ending. Hence, they’ve implored that the two weeks old strike action be called off.

It was during an interview with journalists that the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum(NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State  gave this announcement. They also held a meeting with ‘stakeholders’ from the State judiciary and legislature at the Presidential villa in Abuja.

The judiciary had earlier been assured financial autonomy when the Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said that modalities for the implementation would be concluded on Thursday 18th March 2021.

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He also said that the governors were in support of the financial autonomy for the state lawmakers, adding that there was no hindrance towards the implementation of the President’s Executive Order which is enshrined in Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantee financial autonomy of the state legislature and state judiciary.

 “By next week Thursday we will be meeting to finalize the framework. We are all in support of it by the grace of God,” Tambuwal said.

It was failure to enact this that caused courts across the country to be grounded for two weeks by JUSUN members since April 6 in protest.  

Addressing this matter on Thursday 15th April, Mr Fayemi said that the Governors have been spending time on ensuring full implementation; and that modalities were being worked out at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa.

He also said that the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives.

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The Governor said, “we are on all fours,” adding that “an agreement has been reached”.

He added, “first, the issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies, as a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support, in the first instance, in the state assemblies.

While all these us going on, the Governor of Rivers State, Governor Nyeosom Wike is raising an outcry saying that there’s no reason for the members of JUSUN in Rivers State to partake in the strike action because financial autonomy is already implemented in the State.

But do you think the lawyers should not exercise solidarity in this situation? How can members in one State not support her brothers?

After all said and done, members of this noble profession still have to go around protesting carrying placards with different inscriptions to announce their demands. Indeed they are an outspoken lot.

After all the drama that ensued today, how do you think this story will end?

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