As the strike action embarked upon by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, throughout the country enters its second working day yesterday, judicial activities across the country have been paralysed.
In many states in the country, judges, lawyers and litigants who came to court yesterday, were stranded as they could not enter court premises, since the gates were locked by the striking workers.
A visit to the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, revealed that work had been brought to a standstill as the indefinite strike declared on Friday by the national body of JUSUN has now taken a serious toll on judicial activities in the state.
In Kaduna State, workers embarked on the strike and shut courts across the state on Monday.
The workers said the strike was indefinite to press for financial autonomy for the judiciary staff in the country.
Chairman of the Kaduna State branch of the union, Comrade Murtala Aminu, said they were only carrying out a directive of the National Executive Committee (NEC) who gave the order for commencement of the strike during its meeting on July 9.
Comrade Aminu explained that the finance of the judiciary should not be controlled by the executive, rather it should enjoy a full financial autonomy and its funds should be in the custody of the head of the court in each state.
“Our national body took this matter to a Federal High Court to seek interpretation of ‘financial autonomy for the judiciary’ staff as enshrined in the constitution and the judgement was in favour of the union, calling on the government to grant financial autonomy to the union.
“It is very sad that the Federal Government refused to obey the court order by refusing to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary. We have been pushed to the wall because we have exhausted dialogue processes, but the Federal Government refused to see reason. This is a simple matter. The executive has granted financial autonomy to the legislature; so they should also do the same thing to the judiciary and allow us to plan our salary with the money available to us,” he said.
Judges, lawyers, the police and prison officials were shut out of court rooms, as no court room was opened for adjudication of cases.