Judiciary workers across the country under the aegis of Judicial Union Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) have resumed work on Monday following the suspension of their three-weeks-old nationwide strike.
JUSUN had called off the strike following last Friday’s meeting between its leaders and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu, as well as other stakeholders in the justice sector.
JUSUN members embarked on the strike to compel the executive, particularly at the state level to obey the January 13 judgment given in a suit by JUSUN, by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Ademola had, in the judgment, held among others, that it was unconstitutional for the executive to withhold or release in piecemeal, funds standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Federation Account and Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The judge ordered that such funds be paid directly to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward disbursement to heads of courts in the case of federal judiciary and directly to chief judges of states high courts in the case of states’ judiciary as required under sections 81(3), 121(3) and 162(9) of the Constitution.
Sources close to the meeting in Abuja on Friday disclosed that the parties signed an agreement with the union leaders before they agreed to suspend the strike.
According to the sources, the representatives of the government indicated their readiness to meet JUSUN’s demand within 45 days.
Those at the meetings included the Labour and Productivity Minister, representatives of the fora of state commissioners of finance and state Accountants-General, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the National Judicial Council.
Others were the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali (SAN), and the representatives of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
Nonetheless, courts in Rivers State may still remain under lock and key as court workers in the state, whose strike began before the one called by JUSUN, had been directed to remain at home.
JUSUN’s President, Marwan Adamu, said the strike in Rivers State was different from the JUSUN nationwide strike.
He said judiciary workers in Rivers decided on a strike in view of the dispute between the state government and the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge in the state.
He said the workers had been advised to remain resolute until the disputing parties agreed to a Chief Judge for the state.