The National Judicial Council (NJC) has waded into the dispute between the Executive and the Judiciary in Kogi State and recommended that the Judiciary should comply with the Table Payment and Biometric exercise adopted by the government and Organised Labour in the state.
Briefing journalists today after a closed-door meeting in the Governor’s Office between a high-powered delegation from the NJC met with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, some of his aides and a team from the Judiciary led by the embattled Chief Judge, the Director-General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo said the parties made progress towards a speedy resolution. He revealed that the meeting recommended that the judiciary workers should participate in the biometric exercise and receive their paychecks.
“The meeting was a very fruitful one. The State governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello was in the meeting. The state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajana was in attendance and the delegation of the NJC headed by the former President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Umaru Abdullahi. Parties made their separate cases after which the NJC delegation recommended that everyone should sheathe their swords and jointly conduct the Table Payment and biometric capture to allow the Judiciary staff access their salaries which has been hanging since the face-off began.
The lawlords noted that the exercise does not interfere with the autonomy of the judiciary.
Mr. Fanwo stressed that the Exercise was harmless and only to be feared by those who have anything to hide. He assured that genuine workers of the Judiciary who were suffering unnecessarily will jump at the opportunity. He also disclosed that some members of the delegation confirmed at the meeting that even as judges they have participated in similar exercises in their states.
Fanwo concluded by assuring the Judiciary workers that Governor Yahaya Bello was pleased with the outcome of the meeting as it would enable his administration pay available salaries to his workers in the Judiciary. It would be recalled that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had embarked on an indefinite strike in the state over the matter leaving their members unpaid for some months. He assured JUSUN that as soon as the strike was called off and the Judiciary payroll made available to government, the exercise would be conducted and payments made.