Lawal reacts to Judiciary workers strike as many languish in prison
Ibrahim Lawal, a legal luminary and Head of Chambers, Akeredolu and Ogunjimi chambers, has stated that he is in support of financial autonomy for judicial workers but that his worry is the survival of judicial officers with paucity of funds and not judicial independence.
Lawal who accused the executive and legislative arms of government of not being fair to the judiciary identified bias as one of the reasons the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on a nationwide strike to press home their demand for autonomy as enshrined in the Executive Order 10 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020.
Speaking on a radio current affairs programme in Osogbo on Wednesday, Lawal explained that the JUSUN strike has impacted on the nation as people are languishing in prisons and police custody because courts have been shut down.
The senior lawyer noted that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to express themselves have been taken away, adding that the strike has caused the government a lot of harm in the comity of nations as the country is no longer perceived in good light.
In differentiating between the JUSUN and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) strikes, Lawal disclosed that the former is agitating for financial autonomy and because they felt the state governments are not doing anything while the latter is fighting to get its allowances from the federal government.
While demanding to know which fund will be used to settle the state judicial officers if their autonomy becomes workable, Lawal maintained that for the process of governance not to be disrupted, there is need for a blueprint since the sum available to states varied.
According to him, “Most of the states are insolvent. They are just states by nomenclature. The states cannot give what they do not have.
“There should be in a place a percentage formula to fund JUSUN and also a mechanism to check how the funds will be expended because even the execution of the constituency projects of the legislature is carried out by the Executive arm of government.
“Also, there should be a review of the revenue system, but it should not impact negatively on the states.”
The legal luminary revealed that the resolution of the JUSUN strike will be determined by the state governors because they are the ones that will implement the financial autonomy the judiciary is seeking.
“The Federal Government has already started the implementation for federal judicial officers and Ogun is the only state in the country that has constituted a House of Assembly Commission, but its effectiveness is still in doubt,” he added.
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