By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Tuesday, commended the decision of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, to call off the strike action that crippled legal activities in the country for almost three weeks.
The legal body however warned that no member of JUSUN should be penalised or denied January 2015 salary for embarking on the strike action.
The NBA, in a statement it issued in Abuja Tuesday, noted that the judiciary workers were persuaded to suspend the industrial action in all Courts at the Federal level on the basis of assurances and commitment by the Federal Government to comply fully with the Provisions of Section 81 of the Constitution with regards to the release of allocations to the judiciary.
The section provides that monies due to the Judiciary from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation should be paid to the Heads of Court on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The workers went to strike on June 5 to protest the continued refusal of both the Federal and State governments to implement a Federal High Court judgment that declared financial autonomy for the judiciary.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola had in a judgment he delivered on January 13, 2014, ordered that the Accountant-General of the Federation should forthwith, deduct funds standing to the credit of the judiciary and disburse same directly to the various heads of court.
He held that it was illegal for the judiciary to keep receiving its allocations in piecemeal through the Executive arm of government, a situation he said not only breed corruption in the judiciary, but also negate the principle of separation of powers.
Meantime, the NBA, stated that JUSUN said it would suspend its strike action at the State level upon confirmation by individual State Governments of their commitment to comply fully with the provisions of the constitution that granted financial autonomy to the State Judiciary.
”Instructively, JUSUN has not insisted on any formal documentation of this commitment to comply with the Constitutional provisions.