The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has noted the decision by court workers nationwide embark on strike to press for financial autonomy for the Judiciary was justified.
“I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,’’ the CJN was quoted as saying after a meeting on Wednesday with leaders of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in his office in Abuja.
The Media Aide to the CJN, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, said in a statement on Thursday, that Justice Muhammad spoke after hearing from some leaders of JUSUN who explained why they would sustain the strike until state governments take concrete steps on the issue.
Part of the statement reads: “The national officials of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Wednesday ostensibly to give him a feedback on his recent demand on the union to call-off the ongoing strike.
The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadjia Hadiza Uwani Mustapha also attended the meeting held in the CJN chambers at the Supreme Court.
“The CJN had, at an earlier meeting with JUSUN leaders on April 6, asked the union to call-off the strike in view of its adverse effect on the justice system in the country.
“But at the meeting of Wednesday, the JUSUN officials, led by its Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye and Jimoh Musa Alonge (Treasurer) explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.
“Abiyoye told the CJN that the state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place some measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for judiciary in their respective states.
“Abioye said: ‘Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, but others have to take steps in readiness for compliance.’
“According to Abioye, the union expects each state to start implementing its self-accounting law to deal with the Internally Generated Revenue in line with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and that states without such law should put it in place.
“Abioye said it is his union’s position that there must be some level of seriousness from all quarters and as such, the amount standing to the credit of the judiciary from the monthly federal allocation should be deducted directly from the source by the Accountant General of the Federation and remit same to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward transmission to heads of courts.
“However, the CJN said it has become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since the rights of the union and its members which are clearly defined in the Constitution are being denied especially at state level.
‘I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution. I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,’ the CJN said.”