The striking Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on Thursday directed all its members in federal courts to join the industrial action.
The federal courts include the Supreme Court, Court of appeal, Federal High Courts and FCT High Courts
This is contained in a circular signed by the JUSUN National President, Mr Marwan Adamu, on Wednesday night.
In the circular, JUSUN said the action was taken after a meeting with the Minister of Labour with other stakeholders failed to resolve the impasse.
JUSUN also directed its members in the FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, FCT Cstomary Court of Appeal, National Industrial Court, Federal Judicial Service Commission, National Judicial Council and the FCT Judicial Service Commission to join in the strike.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that members of the union embarked on the indefinite strike on Friday, July 11, after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee.
The meeting directed all state judiciary workers to embark on the industrial action to press home their demands.
It also advised its members in the federal judiciary to be on “alert” for further directives from JUSUN’s national secretariat on the dispute.
NAN recalls that the strike began following the failure of state governments to implement an Abujs Federal High Court order in respect of financial autonomy of state judiciaries.
Other demands were failure of stakeholders to abide by the decision to set up a technical implementation committee of the FAAC meeting of June 17.
A Federal High Court presided by Justice Adeniyi Ademola on Jan. 14 restrained the Federal Government and the 36 state governors from holding on to funds meant for the judiciary.
Ademola ruled that funds meant for the judiciary should rather be disbursed directly to the heads of court and not to the executive arm of government.
The suit was filed by JUSUN.
In the ruling, Ademola held that the practice of the executive disbursing funds to the judiciary was unconstitutional and also threatened the independence of the judiciary.
Relying on the provisions of sections 83(1), 212(3) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Justice Ademola said the provisions were clear and straightforward, and should therefore be complied with.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation and the states should act responsibly and promptly to avoid constitutional crisis in this country by ensuring financial autonomy for the judiciary,” he said.
He maintained that the era of the judiciary going cap in hand to beg the executive for fund was over, stressing that the piecemeal allocation of funds through the states’ ministry of finance to the states’ judiciary at the federal and states’ pleasure was unconstitutional, un-procedural, cumbersome, null, void, and should be stopped forthwith.
Ademola also issued an order compelling the defendants to comply with the provisions of sections 81(3), 212(3) and 162(9) of the constitution in the disbursement of funds to the heads of courts forthwith.
He, therefore, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from committing any further breach of the aforesaid constitutional/statutory provisions.
While noting that both the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) enjoyed independence of funding, the judge said the same should applied to the judiciary in accordance with the constitution.
A NAN correspondent who went round the Magistrates’ courts in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, reports that the court rooms were locked. (NAN)