The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on Wednesday reviewed its 44-day-old nationwide strike and vowed to continue the crippling industrial action until its demand is met.
Courts at both the state and federal levels have been paralysed across the country since when the strike began on April 6.
JUSUN’s resolution to continue the strike comes barely 24 hours after the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, appealed to the union to return to work.
Rising from the meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) on Wednesday, the union in its communique penned in a-fight-to-the-finish tone, insisted that the strike would not be called off until its demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy was achieved.
“NEC-in-Session vows to continue with the ongoing industrial action until the provision of the constitution is fully complied with as the provisions of the constitution are non-negotiable,” the union’s communique signed by its National Deputy President, Emmanuel Abioye, and its General Secretary, Isiah Adetola, read in part.
It threatened to “deal” with any of its state chapters “found not fully complying with its directive on the ongoing strike action while commending members to remain resolute”.
It also warned that “no member of any branch or chapter of the union should be victimised on account of this ongoing strike”.
Perhaps, sensing that some state Chief Judges might have shown disposition to compromise on the full implementation of the constitutional provision of the financial autonomy of the judiciary, the union also said it frowned on “the attitude of some state Chief Judges on their anti-constitutional disposition on the full implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary.”
The CJN had, after meeting with the labour minister, Chris Ngige, called on JUSUN to call off its strike.
Mr Muhammad, in a statement by his spokesperson, Ahuraka Isah, said his appeal for an end to the strike was informed by the briefing he received from Mr Ngige, who leads the Federal Government’s negotiation team that engages with the leadership of the union.
While rejecting the various appeals to call off the strike on Wednesday, JUSUN, however, commended the CJN, Mr Ngige, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as well as the Secretary of the Presidential Implementation Committee of the Financial Autonomy, Ita Enang, “on efforts geared towards the full implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary as provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
“NEC-in-Session commends the National President and all members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the union on the discussions so far and efforts to resolve the ongoing strike action with stakeholders,” the communique added.
Warning to Kaduna, Ebonyi governors
The union also commented on fallout of the lingering industrial crisis in Kaduna State triggered by the threat by the governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to reduce the state’s workforce.
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