Protest in Ibadan, Osun dep gov’s convoy blocked
As Lagos judiciary workers consider partial resumption
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Henry Ojelu, Deola Badru & Shina Abubakar
Executives of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, have again, met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to explain why they would not suspend the strike action they commenced on April 6 to demand for the implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary.
A statement signed by media aide to the CJN, Mr. Ahuraka Isah, disclosed that the meeting held on Wednesday.
Isah said the essence of the meeting was for JUSUN leaders to give feedback to the CJN on his recent demand on the union to call-off the ongoing strike that has paralysed judicial activities across the federation.
According to the statement, among those that attended the meeting held at the CJN’s chambers, included the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadjia Hadiza Uwani Mustapha.
The CJN had at an earlier meeting he held with JUSUN leaders on April 6, urged the union to suspend the strike in view of its adverse effect on the justice system in the country.
At the meeting, JUSUN officials, led by its Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye and Jimoh Musa Alonge (Treasurer), explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.
Abiyoye told the CJN that state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place some measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary in their respective states.
‘’Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, but others have to take steps in readiness for compliance,” Abioye stated.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the CJN said it had become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since rights of the union and its members, which he said were clearly defined in the Constitution, were being denied, especially at state level.
“I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
“I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,” the CJN added.
Meanwhile, protesting members of JUSUN, and the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Osun and Oyo states, yesterday, blocked the convoy of Osun State Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi.
Similarly, the aggrieved workers staged the mother-of-all protests in Ibadan, Oyo State, to demand financial autonomy for the legislative and judicial arms of government.
This came as JUSUN workers in Lagos State, considered a plan to partially call off the strike embarked on April 6, 2021 to demand autonomy of the judiciary.
Deputy gov’s convoy blocked
Members of the two unions had commenced the peaceful protest at the State High Court, Oke-Fia and march to Customary Court through to Federal High Court opposite Osun State House of Assembly along Osogbo/Gbongan road.
At about 11:20am, while members of the two unions were marching to the Osun State Government Secretariat, the convoy of the Deputy Governor ran into the protesters before the secretariat.
Rather than give way to the deputy governor’s convoy, the protesters insisted that the convoy moved behind them
JUSUN Chairman in Osun State, Mr. Gbenga Eludire, said the union, in collaboration with NBA, was at the secretariat to deliver the message of its National Secretariat on the necessity to implement financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government.
Eludire said: “We are here to convey the message of JUSUN’s National Secretariat on the need for the implementation of financial autonomy because it is the only way for Nigeria to progress.
‘’The three arms ought to be independent and complementary but reverse is the case here and it is a pity that citizens had to be forcing state government, which is suppose to ordinarily defend the constitution, to enforce constitutional provision.
“We are determined that until the government does the needful, we will not call off the strike action.”
READ ALSO: JUSUN strike: Govs refusal to fund judiciary treasonable, assault on constitution — CRRAN
Also speaking on behalf of the lawyers, Chairman of the NBA Ife Branch, Mr. Tope Olajolo, stressed the need for governors in the country to respect rule of law and begin the implementation of financial autonomy already granted the judiciary.
In his remarks, PASAN chairman, Comrade Adekunle Adeshina also presented the union’s demand in a letter to the deputy governor.
JUSUN, PASAN’s protest rocks Ibadan
Similarly, Judicial and parliamentary workers as well as members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, yesterday staged the mother-of-all protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to demand financial autonomy for the legislative and judicial arms of government.
The peaceful protest, which took place at the front of the Oyo State High Court Complex, Ibadan, was attended by parliamentary workers under the aegis of PASAN, judiciary workers under the auspices of JUSUN and NBA members.
On his part, the state’s PASAN Chairman, Yemi Alade, lamented that the refusal to grant autonomy to the legislature is tantamount to enslavement.
The Vice-Chairman of the NBA, Mrs. Delayo Ori-Ekun, stated that the association was in support of the strike, saying the legislative and parliamentary workers needed to have autonomy for the development of the nation’s democracy.
Speaking, Aborisade urged the protesting workers to continue with the action until their demand is granted, saying the only weapon available to whip the State Governments into line, within constitutional provisions, is the strike action such as the JUSUN’s.
Lagos judiciary workers consider partial resumption
The Lagos Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, is currently considering a plan to partially call off the strike embarked on April 6, 2021 to demand autonomy of the judiciary.
Vanguard findings revealed that JUSUN, Lagos chapter has concluded arrangement to write the national body of the association requesting permission to partially resume work. The reason behind the move according to multiple sources is hinged on the ground that Lagos State Judiciary has been enjoying greater level of financial autonomy compared to other states of the federation.
Chairman of JUSUN Lagos, Asiwaju Shobowale Kehinde confirmed the move to our correspondent but said the proposal is subject to final approval by JUSUN National Secretariat in Abuja.
“ Yes, I can confirm to you that we are making effort to partially resume work. We have had series of meetings with stakeholders in the state and it is our believe that it is in the best interest to partially open the court. We shall communicate with our national body and seek approval. So everything depends on what our national body says,” he said.
Vanguard was also privy to sight a memo by Shobowale Kehinde on the matter.
Part of the memo read; “We had many interactions on the strike situations with fellow state chairmen, especially from South-West, South-East and South- South.
“Lagos JUSUN found out that it is only Lagos State government that had show concerns and seriousness with a listening ears to this JUSUN struggle.
“At this moment, Lagos JUSUN has had four meetings with powerful government official, especially Mr Governor himself.’’