The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called on the federal and states governments to honour their commitment to the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) by complying with the constitutional provisions on the funding of the judiciary.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by the association’s president Augustine Alegeh (SAN), the NBA said it was committed to ensuring that both states and federal government comply with the judgment upon which JUSUN went on strike.
However, in order to ensure full compliance by the federal and state governments with the provisions of the constitution on funding of the judiciary, Alegeh said that stakeholders’ monitoring teams would be established at the federal and state levels.
According to him, in addition to monitoring compliance, these teams would also assist in the process of resolving any compliance issues that might arise and deal with them proactively to achieve the desired objective.
He said: “The monitoring teams would include; representatives of secretaries to sovernment, Attorneys-General, JUSUN, National Judicial Council (federal level), Chief Registrars (state level), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ministries of Labour and Productivity and the NBA.”
He said the association had accepted the offer to chair the monitoring teams at both national and state levels.
Alegeh has therefore requested the chairmen of NBA branches to immediately contact their respective state governments to ensure that the commitment requested by JUSUN was promptly made to the state chairman of JUSUN in their states to fast track the process of re-opening the courts.
He said: “The NBA is committed to support efforts aimed at ensuring full compliance with the constitutional provisions as well as enforcing the judgment of the Federal High Court in favour of JUSUN, in the unlikely event that any level of government fails to comply with the constitutional provisions on judicial funding.
“JUSUN has shown its willingness to embrace an amicable resolution of the impasse at the state level and the state governments should show their disposition towards an amicable resolution by declaring their willingness and commitment to comply with the constitutional provisions on funding of the judiciary.”
He said there should be no difficulty complying with the judgment saying as all governments have a legal obligation to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
“Our expectation is that this commitment would also be fully implemented by the Federal and state governments in a manner that ensures the independence of the judiciary,” he added.
“No member of JUSUN will be penalised and/or denied their January, 2015 salaries for embarking on strike action.
JUSUN has also decided to suspend its strike action at the state level upon confirmation by individual state governments of commitment to comply fully with the provisions of section 121 of the Constitution on funding of the State Judiciary.
JUSUN did not insist on any formal documentation of this commitment to comply with the constitutional provision.