By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS – CAMPAIGN for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, CDWR, yesterday called on state governments to comply with the judgment by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which ordered the states to comply with financial independence of the state judiciary.
Strike by members of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, to force state governments to obey the judgment has crippled state judiciary nationwide in the past three weeks.
While throwing its weight behind JUSUN strike, CDWR in a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr. Chinedu Bosah, said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the pillaging of financial resources meant for the state judiciary by the state Governors and call for independent running of the state judiciary under the democratic control of all interest groups in the judiciary including representatives of judicial workers. We commend the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, for extending solidarity to the union.
“The judgment of the court delivered by Justice A.F.A Ademola of the Federal High Court in January 2014 directed that funds meant for state judiciary as allocations from the Federation/Consolidated Revenue Fund should be paid directly to heads of the state courts. The court also declared as unconstitutional, null and void the piece-meal payments/allocations of funds through the Ministries of Finance in the states to the state judiciary at the pleasure of state Governors.
“However, the financial autonomy of the judiciary will mean fundamentally nothing if it does not translate into improved welfare and conditions of the judicial workers. We therefore call on the leadership of the union to link the demand of the strike to the living standards of their rank and file members to include such demands on wages, pension, study leave, among others. The fact that the strike enjoys nationwide support of the rank and file of the union including the federal court workers shows the need to widening the demands.”