BENIN CITY – Legal activities in the judiciary arm of government have been paralysed since Monday this week, particularly as it affect litigants whose cases have been stalled as a result of the strike by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) which enters the third day today.
It would be recalled that the Judiciary Staff Union had earlier went on an industrial strike in July 11, 2014 and called it off in August 1, 2014 apparently to press home their demand of fiscal autonomy which had not be implemented by government in line with a recent court judgement.
When The NIGERIAN OBSERVER visited the High Court and the Magistrate Court premises in Sapele Road, Benin City yesterday, the courts were under lock and key with some labour leaders at the gate apparently to ensure compliance with the directive on the strike.
The premises of the Federal High Court and that of the Federal Court of Appeal along the Benin – Auchi Road as well as the Industrial Court were devoid of the usual human activities.
Speaking with our reporters in Benin City yesterday, Chairman of JUSUN, Edo State, Comrade Uyi Ogieriakhi said the union has decided to close down all activities in the court indefinitely pending government total compliance with their demands.
Comrade Ogieriakhi, who expressed disappointment with government for failing to abide with the order of the judgment of court over the Fiscal Autonomy of the judiciary since January 13, 2014 provoked the recent development.
He explained that the union went to court to get a declaration of Section 81 (3), Section 121 (3) and Section 162 (9) which stated that henceforth any money that accrue to the judiciary from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation and States shall be paid directly to The Nigerian Judicial Council (N JC) for onward disbursement to the Heads of Court in the states.
The chairman further lamented the executive arm of government flouting court orders, explaining that court also sanction the piece meal payment through the Ministry of Finance to heads of Court as cumbersome, unconstitutional and null and void as it was a failure on the part of those responsible for the disbursement of the said fund to NJC as well as a breach of the 1999 constitution.
He stated that the recent MoU signed between government and JUSUN on November 27, 2014 failed as the decision agreed upon that the Federal Accounts and Allocation Committee (FAAC) should send deduction to NJC was not implemented, a development, he said led to the ongoing strike.