JUSUN strike counter-productive to stability of judicial system ― Ajulo

• Asks FG to deduct money at source

Abuja-based lawyer and former National Secretary of Labour Party, Dr Kayode Ajulo on Monday, stated that while the benchmark for the assessment of any democratic government is the independence of its judiciary, the leadership of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) should “cease-fire” on the ongoing strike action as the act is counter-productive to the stability of the judicial system.

Ajulo in a statement said as a concerned member of the bar, a labour leader and an advocate for the enthronement of rule of law and justice, he was compelled to pensively and dispassionately analyse the issues at hand and give his opinion on the issue, urging the leadership of JUSUN to “cease-fire.”

As a way to permanently tackle the impasse, Ajulo advised that the Attorney General of the Federation as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation should approach the Supreme Court pursuant to the provisions of Section 232(1) of the 1999 Constitution for an order of the court to deduct at source from the Federating Account and Consolidated Revenue Fund of the states, any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary, adding that, “as a corollary, each Attorney General of the States should ensure due compliance with the extant and clear provisions of the Constitution as the Chief Law officer of the state.”

He stated that there is no doubt that various courts across Nigeria have been grounded because of the indefinite strike action embarked upon by JUSUN based on the failure of state governments to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary, adding that there is no gainsaying the fact that the action of JUSUN is not causeless as it is an echo of the extant provisions of the constitution.

“It must be noted that the benchmark for the assessment of any democratic government is the independence of its judiciary. This is because democracy is built on the twin doctrines of separation of powers and the rule of law. This is why the constitution clearly delineates the powers of each of the three arms government and also provides instances where they work together. Any short of these instances is tantamount to the rule of arbitrariness which is frown upon by all democracies in the world.

“It is interesting to note that the provisions of the constitution are clear to the extent that the judiciary both at the federal and state level shall be independent. A careful perusal of Section 81 and 121 of the Constitution will reveal that the burden of the welfare and maintenance of judges are placed on the National Judicial Council and not on the governors. It is, therefore, patent that the refusal of the governors to comply with the extant provisions of law amounts to a total infraction of the provisions of the constitution.

“Without prejudice to the right agitations of members of JUSUN as clearly enunciated above, it must be noted that the importance of a functional judiciary at all times cannot be overstated and even more in these times to maintain law and order in a drastically burdened and changing society like ours. While the issue at hand is not reintegrated, the leadership of JUSUN should take a clue from the incessant strike action embarked upon by ASUU including other Trade Unions in Nigeria and its consequent implications,” Ajulo said.

He emphasised that strike action is not the ultimate panacea to resolve disputes as each case has to be decided based on the circumstances surrounding it and parties involved, admonishing the leadership of JUSUN to look inwards and consider a more beneficial approach to ensure that their agitations are implemented by the erring governors and not allow same to inimically affect the fundamental rights of the citizens and the confidence reposed in the judiciary by members of the society.

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