Why Meeting With Judiciary, Parliamentary Workers Failed To Hold – FG

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

 

The meeting with the leadership of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) was postponed, the Federal Government has said.

Although the meeting was scheduled to hold on Tuesday in Abuja, it failed to take place as the leaders of the unions staged a walkout from the venue.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, explained that 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.

Amid the ongoing nationwide strike by the judiciary workers, the leaders of the unions staged a walkout from the reconciliation meeting with the government and representatives of the state governors after waiting for over an hour at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, where the failed meeting was to be held.

Chanting solidarity songs as they left the conference room, the striking workers 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.

It was the second failed meeting scheduled with the minister in the series of discussions aimed at resolving the impasse between the government and the judiciary workers whose strike has paralysed activities across the courts in the country.



Defending the action of the government while briefing reporters in his office, Ngige said it became necessary to ensure the meeting with the unions came with a Memorandum of Action that would be implementable with timelines.

“There is no point rushing to do a meeting that will be fruitless. The judiciary, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and even the Presidency are involved in this negotiation because the meeting held yesterday (Monday) was at the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

“The arising documents are not yet properly harmonised; it will, therefore, not be fruitful to hold a negotiation where people speak from irreconcilable positions.  It won’t help us, and it won’t help the unions either,” the minister was quoted as saying in a statement by a spokesperson for the ministry, Charles Akpan.

He added, “The reason is to ensure that the agreement reached at the end of our meeting here is put into action, with timelines for implementation.

“So, if we don’t have a paper that is ready to go, then there will be no point for the talk shop.”

Ngige alleged that the unions’ leaders were in a hurry despite being informed of the little time needed for him to round off a meeting with the government team.

“It is better done properly so that the governors can implement whatever agreement we enter into. The governors hold the ace because they hold the sovereign in their respective states, even though they are sub-nationals, but they run the government of those states,” he said.

Parliamentary Workers Shut Down Bauchi, Gombe State Assembly

Security operatives on Tuesday man the main entrance of Bauchi State House of Assembly as Parliamentary workers commence the indefinite strike.

 

Parliamentary workers in Bauchi and Gombe states have shut down state assembly complexes following a directive by the national leadership of the Parliamentary Association of Nigeria to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike.

The industrial action of the workers is over non-implementation of Financial Autonomy Act 2018 and Presidential Order 10.

READ ALSO: Financial Autonomy: Parliamentary Workers Commence Indefinite Strike

Members of the union in Bauchi, early Tuesday morning closed down major entrances to the assembly complex preventing staff from gaining access.

They also pasted placards on the walls of the main entrance of the Assembly, stating their demands.

In Gombe State, the union members stormed the state assembly complex carrying placards as they also put the assembly gates under lock.

Members of the Association say the industrial action had become inevitable after several ultimatums given to the government to implement the financial autonomy act elapsed.

The parliamentary workers commenced the nationwide strike two weeks after they staged a protest at the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja.

During the demonstration held on March 9, they threatened to continue the protest and occupy all State Houses of Assembly if their demands were not met.

The workers also called on the members of the National Assembly to take the necessary steps to ensure the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

Financial Autonomy: Parliamentary Workers Commence Indefinite Strike

Some parliamentary workers protest at the National Assembly in Abuja on March 9, 2021.

 

The national leadership of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has declared an indefinite strike across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

At a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, PASAN National President, Usman Mohammed, directed members of the union to embark on industrial action from Tuesday morning.

He explained that directive became necessary following the unwillingness of the Federal Government to implement the Financial Autonomy Act of 2018 and Presidential Order 10.

Mohammed, who noted that the union had explored all available options to avert the strike, decried that their efforts had yet to yield any positive result.

“The union having exhausted all attempts aimed at asking for the implementation of the financial autonomy by the Federal Government after 21 days, 14 days and seven days ultimatums; at this juncture, the union has no other option than to direct our members to embark on an indefinite strike,” he said.

READ ALSO: Courts Remands Suspects Linked To Ekiti Bye-Election Violence

According to the PASAN president, the union has been magnanimous by allowing ample time in the last two years for the government, through the Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy for State Judiciary and Legislature, to implement the provisions of the Constitution.

He added that members of the union have run out of patience and have resolved to put an end to further delays to the implementation of the Financial Autonomy Act.

The parliamentary workers say the industrial action will be indefinite.

 

“The union will, consequently, commence strike action on the morning of Tuesday, March 23, 2021, until full implementation of the letters of our constitution, as provided in section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Presidential Order 10,2020,” Mohammed stated.

The parliamentary workers downed tools two weeks after they staged a protest at the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja.

During the demonstration which held on March 9, they had threatened to continue the protest and occupy all State Houses of Assembly if their demands were not met.

The workers had also called on the members of the National Assembly to take the necessary steps to ensure the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

Parliamentary Workers Protest At NASS Gate, Threaten To Shut Down State Assemblies

Members of the Parliamentary Workers Association of Nigeria on Tuesday protested at the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja.

The workers during the protest threatened that if their demands are not met, they will continue the protest and occupy all State Assemblies across the Federation.

READ ALSO: Involve More Women In Decision-Making, Governors’ Wives Tell FG

President of the Parliamentary Workers Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Usman, who spoke on behalf of the workers, said the Federal lawmakers should take the necessary steps to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary as the welfare of their members is tied under the autonomy.

Mohammed Usman

 

“Enough is enough, when there is no legislation, there is no country. They want to deny the independence of the legislature, we will not allow that. If they continue to deny us financial autonomy, we will use everything in our arsenal to fight them.

“We are after the governors, we are after the implementation committee that the needful must be done.

“In the next six days, if the implementation is not done, we will shut down the whole 36 states assemblies including the National Assembly,” Usman told journalists during the protest.

The workers also alleged that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is impeding every effort to also implement President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 10 which was signed last year, to grant autonomy for the judiciary and also improve their welfare.