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Courts in Bayelsa remain shut as JUSUN strike enters day 2

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Courts in Bayelsa remained shut as the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) enters the second day.

Officials of JUSUN were seen by the Magistrates’, High and Federal High Courts, and the Industrial Courts in Yenagoa to monitor the level of compliance.

They turned back litigants who had cases slated for Wednesday.

The strike, according to the union, is to demand financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government especially at the state levels.

Selepreye Koin, the Chairperson of JUSUN, who led other members of the union on a compliance monitoring across various jurisdictions, expressed satisfaction and described the compliance as total.

”The strike became imminent following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum given to the federal and state governments by JUSUN,” she said.

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Koin explained that the strike was necessitated by the failure of the government to implement a judgment of the Federal High Court, which granted financial autonomy to the judicial arm of government.

Also speaking, Ms Ordu Ekiyortuaere-Queen, JUSUN Bayelsa Chapter, said financial autonomy would help JUSUN members access their retirement benefits on time.

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA had earlier appealed to JUSUN to shelve the industrial action, saying it was ill-timed in view of the constraints of COVID-19 pandemic Nigerians have been battling with.

The union rebuffed the appeal, saying that they were acting on the directives of the national leadership that declared the strike and can as well directed them to call it off.

Chief Ebizimo James, a litigant at the Bayelsa High Court, Onopa area of Yenagoa expressed disappointment over the strike which he said has further slowed the dispensation of justice.

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“The court is the last hope of the common man, when the wheel of the judiciary is threatened, then anarchy becomes imminent, they should address the issues to allow the courts dispense justice.

“I say so because justice delayed is justice denied,” James said.

Recall that JUSUN on March 13, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government which elapsed on Sunday, April 4.

The union ordered its members across the federation to shut all courts to press home their demand for implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on May 22, 2020, signed into law an Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the country.

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The order also mandates the accountant-general of the federation to deduct from the source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state for states that refuse to grant such autonomy. The order made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

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A Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).

 

 

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