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Strike: Lawyers urge government to obey court order

18 July 2014, 17:17

Abuja -  Lawyers in Abuja said on Thursday that the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was a potent constitutional means to attain full autonomy of the judiciary.

They said strike would compel the executive to obey court order on financial autonomy for judiciary and lay foundation for the rule of law.

JUSUN had on Friday, July 11, embarked on indefinite strike to press for implementation of an Abuja Federal High Court order on financial autonomy of state judiciaries.

The court presided by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, on January 14 restrained the Federal Government and the 36 state governors from holding onto funds meant for the judiciary.

Ademola held that funds meant for the judiciary should rather be disbursed directly to the heads of court and not to the executive arm of government.

The union also embarked on strike to put an end to the constant delay in the payment of judicial staff salaries.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Tajudeen Adegbite, said that the industrial action was the only means for JUSUN to get their demands from government.

"It is their constitutional right to belong to association; strike is the only means known under international labour law to press for demands on government.

"For the government not to comply with the order of a competent law; the action is contemptuous and aberration to our justice system,’’ Adegbite said.

Another lawyer, Kevin Okoro, urged the government to give the judiciary "total independent’’, adding that financial autonomy would help the judiciary to be effective.  

He pleaded to litigants to bear with the situation that the strike might cause them.

Also, Kenedy Ozo-Enemmo, called on the government to obey the order of the court to allow the judiciary to function and operate effectively.

Ozo-Enemmo commended the improvement recorded in the judiciary sector, adding that it could be improved upon if the arm of government was fully independent.

Chijioke Kanu,  the Executive Director, Governance in Africa, said the union was in the right direction.

He, however, called on the union to also channel their grievances to the lawmakers, who would amend the necessary provisions in the 1999 Constitution.

Kanu also commended the improvement in the sector, saying cases were no longer delayed compared to what it used to be in the past.

According to him, the use of technicalities in court procedures were now things of the past while new innovations had been introduce into the judicial system.


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