Autonomy: Judiciary Workers Begin Strike Jan. 2

Autonomy: Judiciary Workers Begin Strike Jan. 2
December 31 05:56 2014 Print This Article
Mr. Marwan Adamu

Mr. Marwan Adamu

Expectation that the nation’s judiciary will start enjoying full financial autonomy in December this year has been dashed.

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, which has been leading the battle for a regime of financial independence for the nation’s judiciary, has thus asked its members to resume strike on January 2, 2015.

The President of the union, Mr. Marwan Adamu, confirmed this to our correspondent on Tuesday.

JUSUN said it would resume strike because various stakeholders had flouted the Memorandum of Understanding in which it was agreed that the financial autonomy of the judiciary, as ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja on January 13, 2014, would be given effect from December this year.

It was reportedly agreed in the MoU signed by the various parties after the November 27 meeting that as from the next meeting of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee, the judgment of the Federal High Court would be complied with.

In line with the judgment, the Accountant-General of the Federation is to deduct the amounts standing to the credit of the states’ judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund and remit same to the National Judicial Council, for onward disbursement to the heads of the various courts.

The meeting, which held at the instance of the Supervising Minister of Labour and Productivity, Kabir Turaki, was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, O.C. Illoh, Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, representatives of the NJC, the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The MoU issued at the end of the meeting was signed by a representative of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, O.C. Illoh; Director (Home Finance) of the Federal Ministry of Finance, K. Zaji; NJC’s Acting Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye and the Head of Administration of FJSC, Akinwumi Aina.

The other signatories to the document were the JUSUN’s president and General Secretary, Marwan Adamu and I.M. Adetola, respectively.

Our findings also showed that apart from the failure to respect the MoU, the directive given by the nation’s body of Court Registrars, with regards to the autonomy of the judiciary on September 29, this year, had also not made any impact.

The court registrars’ body had directed its members at both the state and federal levels of the judiciary to stop sending their budget proposals to the state or federal ministries of finance.

The body, under the then leadership of the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Sunday Olorundahunsi, (now a judge of Ondo State High Court), had directed that in line with the Federal High Court judgment, budget proposals of the judiciary should be sent directly to the legislature.

It was learnt that Chief Judges across the 36 states were reluctant to give approval to the directive to avoid unnecessary confrontation with their state governors.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said financial autonomy had been given different interpretations.

He said, “Various Chief Judges have different interpretations for financial autonomy. Some CJs believe that once they are getting what they need from the governors they are okay.

“But when we confronted JUSUN, they said a different thing.”

It was also learnt that some state judiciaries had already sent their budget proposals to the executive before the directive of the chief registrars’ body came but that no step was taken to implement the directive after the meeting.

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