The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Anambra chapter, has suspended its four-month-old strike, according to the state Chairman of the union, Mr Mark Ifezue.
Ifezue told the press in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday that the suspension followed an agreement reached between the union and the state government to implement the judgment of Jan. 14, 2014.
Activities of the Nigerian courts were paralysed from Jan. 5, 2015, when members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) began their nationwide industrial strike which shut down courts’ services across the country.
This was is to compel the executive to comply with the Federal High Court judgment on the financial autonomy for the judiciary as clearly provided for under Section I62 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
An Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, on Jan. 14, 2014, declared as illegal, the practice whereby statutory allocations were handed to the judiciary through the Ministries of Finance and the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“This is in contravention to the clear provision of Section I62 of the Constitution which provides that statutory allocations must be handed over to the judicial arm of government directly”, the court declared.
This declaration which effectively granted fiscal autonomy to the third arm of government and protects it from undue influence by the executive, was hailed by many Nigerians, especially lawyers as laudable judgment.
Since the court declaration, JUSUN recalls its members from strike only in states that comply with the court order.
Consequently, JUSUN in Anambra, on Tuesday in Awka directed all members to immediately resume duty and redouble their efforts to cover the lost grounds.
“The strike was suspended because the union entered an agreement with the state government that funds budgeted for the judiciary will be released to the head of courts including personnel, overhead and capital votes of judiciary.
“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding that the implementation would commence with effect from April 2015,” Ifezue said.
He, however, warned that if the government failed to release the funds, workers would be forced to resume the strike.
Meanwhile in a separate interview, the Chief Registrar of the state Judiciary, Mrs. Doris Ezeani, commended members of the union for suspending the strike.
Ezeani expressed confidence that the appointment of eight new judges as well as employment of new staff in the state judiciary, would help cover the lost grounds.