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JUSUN strike: Govs refusal to fund judiciary treasonable, assault on constitution — CRRAN

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JUSUN strike: Govs refusal to fund judiciary treasonable, assault on constitution — CRRAN
Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN

By Dennis Agbo

The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, has described the refusal of the 36 governors in Nigeria to fund the Judiciary arm of government as a treasonable act and an assault on the country’s constitution.

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, had since April 6, 2021, left the courts in Nigeria under lock and key because of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

The union had alleged that the Federal and State governments had over the years, declined to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.

Reacting to the development in its human rights update, President of CRRAN, Mr. Olu Omotayo said that the strike should not just be seen as a mere strike of court workers in Nigeria, but should be critically looked at from the point of the insistence by respective state governors that the Judiciary should never be independent.

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Omotayo said: “The issue at stake is the understanding of the clear provisions of Section 80 and Section 81 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic. If the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides the mode for the funding of the Legislature and the judiciary, why should the office of the governor, which is a creation of the same Constitution, vow with impunity that the provision of the Constitution as it relates to the funding of the Judiciary should never be obeyed?

“How do you guarantee independence and impartiality of a judiciary when the Chief judges are always on their knees begging the governors for funds in other to maintain a supposed sacred institution.

“The President’s Executive Order last year that the provision of the Constitution that guaranteed the direct funding of the Judiciary is superfluous because you don’t need any Executive Order on the clear provision of the constitution, which says money due to the Legislature and the Judiciary should be paid directly from the Consolidated Funds.

“In normal clime, the respective state Assemblies are the institutions that would have commenced impeachment processes against the respective state governors. What the 36 state governors in Nigeria did is a grave assault on the constitution which affects the foundation of the country. It is high treason when a public official openly by words or actions say the constitution of the country is not binding on him.

“It should be noted that the present actions of the state governments are worse than acts of banditry and militancy because it goes to the foundation of the country, which is the constitution. The worrisome part of it is that none of the respective states.

Attorney Generals have deemed it fit to come out openly to distance himself from these treasonable acts of the state governors.

“This goes to show a decline in professionalism in the legal profession. If none of the 36 Attorney General of the respective states of the Federation see no reason to align with the Attorney General of the Federation that the provisions of the constitution is sacrosanct and must be obeyed by the Federating Units, then the legal profession and the judiciary as an institution is doomed in this country.

“Even under the military, we have seen a Federal Attorney who had a face-off with the then military junta in Nigeria. The former Attorney General of the Federation Pa Gabriel Olusoga Onagoruwa (Olu Onagoruwa) in September 1994, at a press conference, disowned eight decrees issued by the then Abacha government which he was serving as the Attorney General before he was promptly removed by the junta.”

It submitted that until the majority of the lawyers in the country see the law as an instrument of social engineering to protect and better the lots of the citizens and not just a means to enrich the pocket, justice for the citizens in the country will continue to be a mirage.

Omotayo submitted that to show the sincerity of the Federal government, the Federal Attorney-General should not relent but go on to institute an action at the Supreme Court against the 36 states of Nigeria, and seek for the Interpretation of Section 80(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria on Funding and Financial Autonomy of the Judiciary and the legislature vis a viz the Executive Order 10, 2020 of the Judiciary.

“The effect of such decision will enable the Federal government to enforce the decision of the Supreme Court against erring state governors. We submit that this would have been the solution instead of the Executive Order made by the President in that regard.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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