Judiciary workers on Tuesday morning shut down the Supreme Court in Abuja and other states including Bayelsa, in line with their threat to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike to press for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government. The action is expected to be replicated across all Nigerian courts on Tuesday.
Premium times reported that the development came as a defiance to the last minute appeal by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to the workers to postpone the industrial action, which it said was not proper considering the COVID-19 constraints the Nigerian courts had been battling with since last year.
Reporters, who arrived at the entrance of the supreme court in Abuja, early Tuesday morning, met the gate locked, leaving workers who intended to resume duties after the Easter holiday stranded.
Similarly, in Yenagoa, a representative of the federation of women lawyers (FIDA) Bayelsa, recounted that she was denied access into the Multi Door Court house building when she arrived for work this morning and was asked to go home.
However, workers of other two key judiciary institutions – the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) – which share the same premises with the Supreme Court in Abuja are also affected..
It was also noticed that Staff buses were seen making a detour upon arriving at the barricaded gate of the Supreme Court.
Premium times reported that the court’s premises is located in the Three Arms Zone in Abuja, a neighbourhood it shares with the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly Complex, adding that workers of both the NJC and the FJSC are part of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the umbrella body of all judiciary workers at all levels in the nation, and are also bound by the strike declared by the union.
It was also gathered that JUSUN had in an April 1, 2021, circular directed all its states and zonal heads to comply with the strike as from Tuesday.
The circular signed by the union’s general secretary, I. M. Adetola, stated that the strike resulted by the failure of the federal and state governments to implement a judgement of the Federal High Court, which granted financial autonomy to the judicial arm of government.
The union stated that it had at its last National Executive meeting on March 13, 2021 in Abuja, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary with a threat that “failure of which JUSUN will have no other option but to resume the suspended national strike action.”
“Therefore, as a result of the public holiday on April 5, 2021, the strike action has been postponed to Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
Source :Premium times