Wike Commends JUSUN For Calling Off Strike, Insists On ‘No Work-No Pay Policy’

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has commended the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) for calling off its two-month strike in the state.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Media) to the governor, Kelvin Ebiri, on Wednesday, Governor Wike has, however, directed the Accountant General of the state not to pay judiciary workers for the first week of June in which the ‘no work-no pay policy’ was in force.

The state government had warned that it will enforce the no-work no-pay policy if JUSUN in the state fails to call off the strike by May 31.

Governor Wike explained that the state government’s decision not to pay JUSUN members for the first week of June was a result of the union’s failure to heed the directive to resume work before May 31.

Read Also: Judiciary Workers Suspend Strike, After More Than Two Months

He reiterated that Rivers State had been implementing full financial autonomy of the judiciary and that the strike was, therefore, unnecessary in the first place.

The governor maintained that the state government will not set up any budget implementation committee because it is unknown to law.

“Rivers State government is in full support of financial autonomy of the judiciary and has been implementing same. We have stated it before that we are not going to set up any budget monitoring committee in the state because it is unnecessary,” Governor Wike said.

He explained that under a federal system of government, it is only the executive arm of government, at all the tiers, that has the powers to present the annual budget to either state or National Assembly and also signed it into law.

He further asserted that the people of the state are law-abiding and will continue to insist that every action of government must be predicated on the rule of law.

Judiciary Workers Suspend Strike, After More Than Two Months

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embark on a strike in Abuja in April.

 

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has suspended its industrial action after over two months.

The union had embarked on the strike on April 6, shutting down all courts nationwide, to demand financial autonomy for the judiciary in states.

JUSUN’s suspension of the strike followed a meeting of its national executive council (NEC) held in Abuja on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the National Judicial Council (NJC) and members of JUSUN met with a view to finding a lasting solution to the lingering strike.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, and other stakeholders during the interface, lamented that the strike had affected the Judiciary in particular and the nation at large and therefore sought a way to resolve the lingering issue.

 JUSUN Deputy President, Emmanuel Abiri who briefed the Council on behalf of the executive members of the association, explained that the grouse of the union was that despite the Constitutional Provision of Sections 81 (3), 121 (3), 162 (9) and the judgement delivered since 2015 in favour of JUSUN, the Executive Order 10 of 2020 and the agreement reached between the union, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the governors have refused to yield financial autonomy to the State Judiciary.

Abiri that the union’s other grievances include; non-payment of peculiar allowance for judiciary staff; the attempt by the Kaduna State Governor to place the State judiciary under its civil service and scheming for a State Judicial Council.

He posited that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was merely playing politics with the Constitution and had also failed to remit the one-month payment agreed on at the end of May as a demonstration of their good faith.

Mr. Abiri noted that if the Forum could renege in fulfilling its promise at the end of the month of May, there was no guarantee that it would not in June. He, therefore, requested that the Accountant-General of the Federation be directed to deduct from source the amount meant for the Judiciary before the Union could call off the strike.

Ishaku To Implement Financial Autonomy For Judiciary, Legislature In Taraba

A file photo of Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV
A file photo of Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

The Taraba state Governor Darius Ishaku has stressed that judicial and legislative autonomy is a necessity for a strong democracy in Nigeria to excel.

The Governor said he will not hesitate in joining his counterparts across the nation in implementing the financial autonomy of both arms of government in Taraba to provide justice for the common man.

He made the comment while inaugurating a new Grand Khadi of the state Dahiru Ahmad on Friday in Jalingo.

While appealing to JUSUN to suspend its ongoing strike action in the interest of justice especially those in detention, the Governor urged them to imbibe the virtues of equity, moral uprightness, live above board and fair.

”Permit me to use this rare opportunity to reiterate that I am not opposed to judicial and legislative autonomy, rather I believe that financially independence for judiciary and the legislature is essential for a strong democracy,” Ishaku said.

”Therefore we shall not hesitate to join other states of the federation in implementing the financial autonomy of both arms of government.

”Let me also reassure the judiciary of our determination to maintain and expand on the existing synergy to provide better justice to the common man.

”I will also like to take this opportunity to strongly urge JUSUN to suspend their ongoing strike action in the interest of justice even as the negotiations are ongoing.

”Hopefully, an amicable resolution to all of their demands will later be met.

“This call has become urgent in the light of the fact that many innocent people are languishing in detentions without trials and several law suits have been allowed to drag on unnecessarily.

”In the meantime, I urge the bar and the bench to imbibe the virtues of equity, moral uprightness and fairness, so that justice can be delivered to the masses in an effective, efficient and timely manner.”

He also encouraged serving judges to live above board as their actions and inactions have reaching consequences in the lives of others.

”They should see their jobs as a way to serve God and humanity,” he said.

While inaugurating the new Grand Khadi, Governor Ishaku said his appointment is based on merit following the demise of the former occupant of the office.

”The late Grand Khadi did not only serve faithfully, but was an epitome of justice and fairness,” he said.

”Government has always ensured that we have appointment of judges wherever the vacancy exists.

”As the new Grand Khadi you are expected to uphold the constitution by doing justice to all manner of people in order to reflect the tenets of the oath you have just taken as the judiciary is the last hope of the common man of which I Darius Ishaku standing here is a beneficiary.”

The Governor assured the new Grand Khadi of his support in all ramifications.

A minute silence was also observed in honour of the late Grand Khadi.

FG Signs Agreement With Judiciary, Parliamentary Workers On Implementation Of Financial Autonomy

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, presides over a meeting with judiciary and parliamentary workers in Abuja on May 20, 2021.

 

The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) in its bid to resolve the strike by the unions.

This followed a meeting between the government and the leaders of the unions presided over by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Thursday in Abuja, the state capital.

It was the latest in the series of meetings to address the issues that led to the ongoing industrial action by the judiciary and parliamentary workers unions since April 6.

At the end of the meeting, both parties signed an agreement asking state governments to commence the implementation of financial autonomy to the states.

They were asked to transfer their statutory allocations, beginning with the April Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation expected to be shared next week.

Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, the minister was hopeful that the workers would call off the strike as soon as their accounts were credited when the April federal allocations were shared.

He assured Nigerians, especially those who have pending court cases that there was a renewed hope that the industrial action would soon be suspended.

However, the courts across the country would remain closed until then.

Also at the meeting were representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as well as federal and states legislators, among others.

Following a failed negotiation meeting between the government and the striking workers last month, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Ngige, and other relevant stakeholders to address the problem with the unions.

He explained that the directive became necessary to ensure the issues raised by the workers were resolved to resume activities in various courts across the country.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, had told journalists after a meeting with Professor Gambari that the governors were not opposed to financial autonomy for the judiciary.

On April 20, leaders of JUSUN and PASAN walked out from the venue of a meeting scheduled with the minister as they refused to listen to pleas from the permanent secretary who informed them that Ngige was holding a meeting with the government team in his office.

But Ngige said the meeting was postponed to enable the government’s negotiating team harmonise all issues from the Memorandum of Understanding reached at separate meetings with tiers and arms of government.

According to him, there is no point rushing to do a meeting that will be fruitless, and the arising documents are not yet properly harmonised.

Courts To Remain Closed As Judiciary Workers, FG Fail To Reach Agreement

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

Courts across the country will remain closed until at least next week after a meeting between judiciary workers and representatives of the Federal Government ended with no concrete solutions.

The meeting was postponed till next week.

The workers have been on strike since April as they insist on financial autonomy for the judiciary.

READ ALSO: Judiciary Workers Resume Partial Work In Lagos

The Federal Government has said the appropriate laws for judiciary autonomy have been signed into law and that implementation lies with state governments.

At Thursday’s meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, reiterated that the Federal Government has no problem with the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

He maintained that it is an issue that concerns states and their finances.

The Minister added that major progress has been made during the series of meetings the government has held since the strike was declared.

Ngige said 90 percent of all requirements have been met and that the remaining 10 percent need to be addressed after the reopening of the courts.

He pleaded with the workers to suspend their strike, so that all the procedures can be operationalised.

He also said that the closure of courts is an impediment for security agencies, who cannot charge suspects of crimes such as kidnapping and banditry to court.

In his remarks, President of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Marwan Adamu, said the meeting wouldn’t have been necessary if the position of the law and constitution had been adhered to.

He said the workers were not attempting to negotiate the constitution but to ensure compliance with its provisions on financial autonomy for the judiciary.

Judiciary Workers Resume Work In Lagos

Alleged Kidnap: Judge’s Absence Stalls Evans Trial
A file photo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja

 

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in Lagos State has begun the partial opening of courts by returning to duty three times a week.

In a circular dated April 27 and addressed to its members, JUSUN Chairman in the state, Kehinde Shobowale, directed a partial reopening of the courts.

Following the directive, members were to report to work every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

JUSUN had on April 6 embarked on an indefinite strike demanding that state governments grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.

But Shobowale said that the union took that decision because Lagos State has so far attained 75 per cent financial autonomy.

“It is our desire only to relax strike rules to allow clearance of backlogs, reading of judgement and decongestion of prison occasion by the COVID pandemic and #EndSARS protest,” he said.

“Therefore, work and official duties are constraints to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesday of every week remain our strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Police Probe Killing Of 19 Herders In Southeast

Meanwhile, the Director of Administration and Human Resources in Lagos State Judiciary, Sanusi Kamal, in a notice on April 28, directed judiciary staff to resume on April 29.

He said, “In view of the communique issued by JUSUN, Lagos State Branch on April 27, I have the directive to inform all members of staff to resume at their various duty post on Thursday (today).

“It should be noted that officers are expected to be in office only on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of every week until further directive from JUSUN.”

But in a swift reaction, the National Working Committee (NWC) of JUSUN has asked the workers to disregard the notice of resumption.

A statement signed by the National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Koin Selepreye said, the strike is still very much on in Lagos and other states until there is a definite conclusion.

Koin further stated that the NWC has taken steps to curb the ugly situation even as no state has the authority to suspend the ongoing strike, Lagos inclusive.

JUSUN Strike: Again, National Body Overrules Lagos Chapter On Partial Reopening

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) stage a protest in Abuja on April 19, 2021.

 

The national leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has again faulted the partial reopening directive of its Lagos State chapter.

Following an extraordinary meeting of the union on Wednesday in Abuja over the matter, the leaders described the partial reopening directive as unacceptable and one that cannot stand.

JUSUN National Treasurer, Jimoh Musa, told reporters at the end of the meeting that they have resolved to send delegates to Lagos to verify if courts were partially open and if found true, they would be sealed up again.

He stated that the partial reopening of the courts in Lagos was tantamount to a war between the state chapter and JUSUN chapters in the South West.

In a circular signed by JUSUN General Secretary, Isaiah Adetola, the union reminded all branch chairman and executives that the strike was called by the National Executive Council (NEC) of JUSUN, and no branch or chapter has the powers to call a local congress or enter into any agreement with its employers to waive the directive of the national body.

It also declared that no branch or chapter was authorised to open the door of courts in Nigeria, including the Lagos chapter until the points in disputes were resolved.

All judiciary workers in the FCT and all states were asked to stay in their homes until developments were communicated by the NEC.

JUSUN Chairman in Lagos, Shobowale Kehinde, had in a statement dubbed an addendum last week, said the chapter had relaxed its strike rules to allow for clearance of backlogs, reading of judgement and decongestion of prison occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSars protest.

“Work and official duties are constrained to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesdays of every week remain strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike,” the statement said.

Kehinde explained that the chapter considered the partial opening because the state government had met 70 per cent of their demands and was speedily looking into other demands which results were manifesting.

Despite the decision of the national body overruling the addendum, the Lagos chapter again gave the clear for a partial reopening on Wednesday till Friday.

But the national body, in a swift reaction, overruled the Lagos chapter and declared that the strike would go on in Lagos and all courts until the implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary was secured in all 36 states of the Federation.

When Channels Television crew visited the Lagos High Courts, it observed that judiciary workers had partially resumed work in compliance with the directives of the state chapter.

Although the courtrooms at the Ikeja High Court were locked against litigants, the cash office was opened for those who came to depose to affidavits.

The two main gates into the courtroom complex were also locked to prevent vehicular movement into the court, but the smaller gate was open for pedestrians.

A few workers who came to the court, however, left for home when it became clear that the courts were not going to sit as there were no judges on the ground.

However, JUSUN workers at the Federal High Court in Lagos did not join the partial resumption directive and the court remained locked.

This development comes 22 days into the strike called by the JUSUN national secretariat to demand full financial judicial autonomy in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

JUSUN Strike: Lagos Court Remain Shut Despite Partial Reopening Order

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embark of the strike in Abuja on April 19, 2021.

 

Despite the partial reopening of operations by the Lagos Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), a court in the state will remain shut.

This is according to the National body of JUSUN which declared a nationwide strike on April 6 over the refusal of state governors to implement the financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

JUSUN’s counter directive comes hours after the Lagos State Chapter of JUSUN said it had relaxed its strike rules to allow for clearance of backlogs, reading of Judgement and decongestion of prison occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the# EndSARS protest.

READ ALSO: Lawyers March To NASS, As Judiciary Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

Chairman of JUSUN in Lagos, Shobowale Kehinde, said, “Work and official duties are constrained to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesdays of every week remain strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike.”

When Channels Television monitored the Lagos courts to see whether it had opened for partial work, we met the gate of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja firmly shut with members of the Lagos JUSUN monitoring compliance.

A few judiciary workers who had shown up for work said off-camera that they were not allowed into the court premises.

A representative of the Lagos Chapter of JUSUN said that though the chapter was sympathetic to the partial resumption of work, the National body had overruled the decision and directed the Lagos branch to resume full strike.

JUSUN Strike: Adegboruwa Faults Relaxation Of Rules In Lagos

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, has faulted the decision of the Lagos State Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to relax its strike rules to allow partial work.

Adegboruwa in a statement sent to Channels Television said the situation is ‘totally unacceptable.’

“It is either JUSUN is on strike or it is not,” the SAN said.

He lamented that the Federal Government is in compliance with financial autonomy even more than Lagos State, yet Federal workers are on solidarity strike.

READ ALSO: JUSUN Relaxes Strike Rules In Lagos, To Allow Partial Work

“I ask JUSUN, who is collecting revenue for the courts in Lagos State, is it not Alpha Beta?

“Who buys vehicles for judges and staff, is it not the executive? Why do we deceive ourselves?” he added.

Adegoruwa added that “I am personally concerned that the Lagos State Government is doing so much to abort the strike action, in the same fashion that it succeeded in dividing the NBA into executive sessions in State House Marina, instead of mass action.”

JUSUN Relaxes Strike Rules In Lagos, To Allow Partial Work

File photo of a Federal High Court

 

The Lagos State Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has decided to resume operations partially.

This according to the association is to allow for clearance of backlogs, reading of Judgement, and decongestion of prison occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protest.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Reps To Investigate Recurring Jailbreaks

Chairman of JUSUN Lagos, Shobowale Kehinde, who made the announcement in a statement on Thursday said work and official duties are constrained to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week.

He added that Monday and Tuesday of every week remain ‘Strike Days’ and all staff members must stay off duty to observe the strike.

Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, has faulted the decision of the Lagos JUSUN to relax its strike rules to allow partial work.

Adegboruwa in a statement sent to Channels Television said the situation is ‘totally unacceptable.’

 

Find Below, The Full Statement by Lagos JUSUN Chairman…

 

Addendum on Strike Day 16.

To whom much is Given, Much is expected.

We had many interactions on strike situations with fellow State chairmen especially from the southwest, Southeast, and South-South.

Lagos JUSUN finds out that it’s only Lagos State Government that had shown concerns and seriousness with a listening ear to this JUSUN Struggle.

At this moment, Lagos JUSUN has had four meetings with powerful Government officials especially Mr. Governor himself.

From my position and privileges as JUSUN chairman Lagos, We are indeed lucky. Even the National leadership hasn’t made significant progress as Lagos JUSUN does at the moment.

Our axillary demands are been speedily looked into and results are manifesting.

Though there is a national agitation for financial autonomy, this will be achieved nationally and all states will benefit from it.

Our Union had the best assurances directly from Mr. Governor and the Chief Judge of Lagos State on improving welfare allowances for staff which had eluded us since 2014.

While showing commitment today with the delivery of two new buses to Judiciary while House of Assembly had only 1bus given to them even though both arms of Government were currently on strike.

It’s impossible that a state branch will suspend a National Strike hence JUSUN Strike is very much ongoing in Lagos State.

But Due to the great Respect and honour Lagos state judiciary staff have for Mr. Governor and the Chief Judge of Lagos State, it’s our desire only to relaxed strike Rules to allow clearance of backlogs, reading of judgement, and decongestion of prison occasion by the covid pandemic and End Sar protest.

Therefore, work and official duties are constraints to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesday of every week remain our strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike.

The Union will review the progress both left and right to make informed decisions as the event unfolds.

Please let it be known that the Staff of Lagos State judiciary is still on strike but was magnanimous in putting Lagos Judiciary and the Government of Lagos state first in our time of strength.

All gates of courts in Lagos State will be partially open on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Only.

Life itself is all about Give and take.

The Congress says it’s time to give so that it can be given to us all.

 

Aluta continua.

Asiwaju Shobowale Kehinde

Chairman, JUSUN

Lagos.

JUSUN Strike: Lawyers Hold Solidarity Protest Over Judiciary Autonomy

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Kaduna State have staged a peaceful protest in solidarity with the ongoing nationwide strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

Lawyers drawn from various branches of the association in the state came together on Wednesday and marched along the major roads in the state capital, holding placards with various inscriptions in support of the call for financial autonomy for the judiciary across all states.

They later took their protest to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the Kaduna State seat of power to meet with the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and plead with him to grant full autonomy to the judiciary.

A mild drama played out earlier at the entrance of the Government House when the lawyers engaged the security operatives guarding the gate in an argument.

Thereafter, the legal practitioners presented their protest letter to a representative of the state government for onward transmission to the Governor.

In separate interviews with Channels Television, the chairmen of NBA in Kaduna and Barnawa branches, Samson Audu and Abdullahi Yahaya, described the judiciary as the bastion of democracy.

They urged Governor El-Rufai to also appeal to his colleagues to grant autonomy to the organ of government in their respective states.

The protest by the lawyers in Kaduna, just as similar demonstrations in other states, is to prevail on the 36 state governors to respect the financial autonomy of the judiciary, as enshrined by the Constitution.

Judiciary workers across the country had commenced an indefinite strike on April 6 to demand the implementation of the constitutional provisions granting financial autonomy to the third arm of government.

The industrial action has grounded court activities for two weeks in all parts of the country.

‘Nigerians Have Been Denied Good Governance’, Ubani Backs JUSUN Strike

 

A former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani has backed the strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), saying Nigerians have been denied good governance.

JUSUN had on April 6 declared a nationwide strike to press home its demands, thereby crippling activities in courts and judicial institutions across the country.

Just yesterday, members of the union in collaboration with the NBA also protested against the failure of the governor to allow financial autonomy in states.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, Ubani accused Nigerian governors of controlling the judicial and legislative arms of government.

READ ALSO: Lawyers March To NASS, As Judiciary Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

“I see no reason why we have delayed so much but somebody has also pointed out that the governors actually wanted a situation whereby they will be in total control of the other two arms of government and that is why Nigerians have not been getting good governance,” he said.

Former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monda Ubani speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily in Lagos on April 20, 2021.

 

“Both at the judicial and parliamentary levels, these governors when they come in, want to control the State House of Assembly, determine who becomes the Speaker and fail to give them that particular independence they require in order to checkmate what goes on at the Executive.”

When asked why it is taking so long for governors to grant financial autonomy to judicial workers, the legal practitioner said “they were deriving so much pleasure in the undue control they have exerted over the other two arms of government over time.”

Giving an instance, the senior lawyer said when governors purchase vehicles for judges in their states; they invite the press and create a situation to suggest they are doing the jurists a favour.

While declaring the move as an aberration, Ubani commended JUSUN for embarking on the industrial action, insisting that the strike is long overdue.

Since April 6, courts in Nigeria have been under lock and key because of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

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

The NBA President had earlier on Friday directed its branch chairmen nationwide to lead “visits” to government houses in their states over the 36 governors’ alleged unwillingness to implement judiciary’s financial autonomy.

A statement by the president of the association, Olumide Akpata, directed the branch chairmen to lead the “visits”, which are more like peaceful protests, on Monday, and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy is met.

It urged the branch leaders “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.