LAGOS — Judicial workers, under the aegis of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, yesterday, shut down courts across the country as they commenced an industrial action.
In Abuja, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, and other Justices of the Supreme Court were locked out of their respective offices by protesting judiciary workers, while all the courts were barricaded by the strikers who used heavy chains and padlocks to block entrance and exit gates to all courts.
In Lagos, the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court as well as Lagos State High Court in all its divisions in Ikeja, Igbosere, Ikorodu and Badagry were also shut.
At the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, the entrances were padlocked. Also, the Appeal Court in Lagos had its gates padlocked. The magistrate’s court in Igbosere, Lagos, was also under lock and key.
The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, was also under lock and key, including the National Industrial Court in Ikoyi.
Courts in Lagos were initially scheduled to resume yesterday after the Christmas vacation, but JUSUN had directed all its members to embark on the strike from January 2.
The strike is based on the failure of state governments to implement the orders of an Abuja Federal High Court, which granted financial autonomy for state judiciaries.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola had on January 14, 2014, following a suit by JUSUN, restrained the Federal Government and the 36 state governors from holding on to funds meant for the judiciary.
Ademola held that funds meant for the judiciary should instead be disbursed directly to the heads of court and not to the executive arm of government.
In Abuja, yesterday, all the Justices of the Supreme Court, who intended to access their offices, including the CJN, were forced to turn back as the workers, through their National President, Mr. Adamu Marwa, maintained that they would not bow down until the Federal Government complied and implemented the Federal High Court judgment that declared financial autonomy for the judiciary.
Addressing journalists yesterday, JUSUN President, Marwa, said the office of the Accountant General of the Federation was to be blamed for the failure of the Federal Government to implement the court judgment.
He lamented that the union had held meetings with representatives of the various governments 20 times since the verdict was delivered as well as signed seven Memoranda of Understanding, MoU.
He said: “There is no going back until they respect the court judgment. This strike is indefinite.”