From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has vowed not to suspend its nationwide strike until state governors demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary in their respective states.
The union told the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, that it expects each state to start implementing its self-accounting law to deal with the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in line with section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), while states without such laws should put it in place.
The CJN had at the early stage of the strike met with with the leadership of JUSUN on April 16, wherein he appealed to them to reconsider their decision and suspend the action in view of its adverse effects on the justice system in the country.
The meeting which was held at the Chambers of the CJN also had in attendance, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadija Hadiza Uwani.
But at a meeting on Wednesday, ostensibly to brief the CJN on the issue, JUSUN officials, led by its Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye, and Jimoh Musa Alonge (Treasurer), explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.
A statement released by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the CJN, Ahurukah Isah said Abiyoye told the CJN that the state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place some measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for judiciary in their respective states.
‘Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, but others have to take steps in readiness for compliance,’ Abioye said.
According to Abioye, the union expect each state to start implementing its self-accounting law to deal with the Internally Generated Revenue in line with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and that states without such law should put it in place.
Abioye said it is his union’s position that there must be some level of seriousness from all quarters and, as such, the amount standing to the credit of the judiciary from the monthly federal allocation should be deducted directly from the source by the Accountant General of the Federation and remit same to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward transmission to heads of courts.
He said for the Federation Consolidated Account (Federal Allocation), the budget of each state judiciary submitted to the implementation committee (received on October 2, 2020) should be implemented by deducting the amount due to the state judiciary directly from source by Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) in line with Sections 81(3) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for the states. In other words, the AGF should deduct from the monthly Federal Allocation and remit it to the NJC for onward transmission of the fund to the heads of courts at the state judiciary. Until this is done, there is no going back, the strike would go on.’
The CJN said it has become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since the rights of the union and its members which are clearly defined in the Constitution are being denied especially at state level.
‘’I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution. I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,’ the CJN said.