The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on Tuesday said loose ends remain in the agreement reached with judiciary workers.
The striking workers met with key stakeholders on Monday at the State House in Abuja where it was resolved that their call for financial autonomy for state legislative and judiciary will be implemented by May 2021.
However, earlier on Tuesday, the judiciary workers staged a walkout from a follow-up reconciliation meeting with the Federal Government and representatives of the State Governors, after waiting for over an hour at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Reacting to the walkout, Dr. Ngige said his work on some “loose ends” in Monday’s agreement caused his lateness to the meeting.
“Once necessary agreements have been reached as memorandum of understanding, we bring everybody here and detail them with timelines and timeframe,” he said.
“So they came for this meeting. But there were some loose ends they did not tie up. So I asked the Permanent Secretary and the officials responsible to explain to them that they have to exercise patience to enable us tidy these areas before meeting with them.
“So, nobody slighted them, nobody refused to meet with them. We wanted to meet with them so that the meeting would be fruitful, so that whatever is signed here will be implementable.
“We are making contact with them by tomorrow. And this work has not even finished. The government side has to go back and tie up the loose ends that I have pointed out to them here.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the federal and state governments to release funds meant for the judiciary to Chief Judges in line with constitutional provision.
Delivering judgment in a suit filed by the Judiciary Workers Union (JUSUN), Justice Adeniyi Adetokunbo-Ademola ruled that the piecemeal payment of funds and amount due to the judiciary is unconstitutional, null and void and should be stopped forthwith.
Justice Adetokunbo-Ademola also gave a perpetual injunction restraining the federal and state governments from further contravening the provisions of the constitution with regards to first line funding of the judiciary.
In a judgment that lasted for an hour, Justice Adetokunbo-Ademola ruled that the federal and state governments with the exception of Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa states have been violating Section 81(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and therefore should be stopped forthwith.
Lawyer to the plaintiffs, Mr Yunus Usman applauded the verdict of the court saying compliance with the judgment of the court will promote the independence of the judiciary.
Reacting to the judgment, lawyer to one of the defendants, Mr Sebastine Hon declined comment on whether his client will appeal the judgment. He said his client will be advised on the step to take.
The National President of the JUSUN, Marwan Adamu however commended the verdict of the court.
Members of the union celebrated the verdict of the court with jubilation as they trooped out of the court room.