The resolution meeting scheduled to hold between government representatives and the leadership of the judiciary workers yesterday has suffers set back.
Representative of Government, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, along with the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, postponed the meeting indefinitely without giving reasons for their actions.
The development erodes hopes for a resolution of the ongoing strike that has shut down all Nigerian courts for 10 days and paralysed the Judiciary arm’s.
Judiciary workers, under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), had on April 6, embarked on the indefinite nationwide strike demanding an enforcement of constitutional provisions and court judgments granting financial autonomy to the judiciary at both the state and federal levels.
The Governor’s, who are the main target of the strike, had scheduled a meeting with the leadership of JUSUN to fashion out modalities for meeting the workers’ demand.
However, the meeting was postponed indefinitely at the instance of the government.
According to an executive member of the JUSUN, Jimoh Musa, the Union were shocked to receive the message postponing the meeting.
Mr Musa said the meeting was scheduled to hold at the Federal Ministry of Labour with the Minister as the lead representative of the federal government.
“We were shocked to get a message from a director in the ministry of labour today that the meeting has been postponed.
“The director said no reason for the postponement of the meeting was given but that a new date will be communicated to us,” Mr Musa said.
Reacting to the postponement,
Mr Musa said JUSUN leadership held a meeting where it was resolved that the strike should continue.
“In addition to that, we have also resolved that if we do not hear from them before next week, we will add protests to the strike,” he said.
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He said the union would lead a march to the offices of the accountant-general of the federation and the attorney-general of the federation in Abuja for their refusal to enforce the relevant sections of the constitution that entitles the state judiciaries to receive their allocation directly from the federation account.
“We cannot understand why the accountant-general of the federation cannot deduct the money due to the state judiciaries from the federation account and pay it to them directly, and why the attorney-general has not been able to ensure that those constitutional provisions are complied with.
“We are saying that the accountant-general should start the implementation of the financial autonomy status of the judiciary by not giving the funds meant for the state judiciaries as from this month (April),” he said.
The governors often claim not to be opposed to the financial autonomy of the judiciary.
However, they trample on the independence of the arm of government by only releasing funds to it as they please, violating constitutional provision placing both the state judiciary and legislature on first line charge of the state budgets.
Similarly, the action of the state Governor’s is a clear violation of the rule of law, as the constitution guarantee separation of powers between the three arms of government.
Various Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Lawyers who comments on the strike have stated that Judiciary will continue to be compromised in discharging justice where it’s the Executives that determines who get what.