The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) yesterday stalled a judgment in the matter that some lawyers are seeking reinstatement of
the suspended president of the court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami.
Also, over 1,700 cases across the country could not go on as the result of the industrial action. JUSUN yesterday commenced industrial action pressing on the federal government to implement the 2009 agreement in which federal judiciary staff’s salary was increased from N17,000.00 to N37,000.00.
Consequently, Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja could not sit to give judgment on Salami’s
Justice Bello was to determine whether the assent of President Goodluck Jonathan is needed for the reinstatement of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami.
In a suit filed by Centre for the Promotion of Arbitration (Plaintiffs) dragged the National Judicial Council (NJC) and President Goodluck Jonathan to court praying for “an order of court directing the 3rd Defendant, National Judicial Council, NJC, to recall the 4th
Defendant, Salami, to resume his duties as the President of the Court of Appeal forthwith.
“A declaration that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has no power whatsoever and/or howsoever to exercise disciplinary functions over the Justices of the Court of Appeal and/or Justice Isa Ayo Salami, the PCA”.
The plaintiffs want another declaration that the further reappointment and/ or approval of the extension of the tenure of the 5th defendant
(Justice Adamu) as the Acting PCA by the 1st defendant (Jonathan), is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
The judgment could not hold following JUSUN’s strike action in which the striking union is insisting that non-implementation of the
approved consolidated judiciary salary structure for federal workers is an “injustice in the temple of justice”.
All entrances leading to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court Abuja were yesterday shut down, while judiciary workers, litigants, lawyer and other visitors of the those affected courts stood in clusters, discussing the development as they were barred by officials of JUSUN from entering in the courts.
Most of the staff carried placards which read: “CONJUSS is our demand” another one read, “It is Now or Never”, “Please pay CONJUSS, JUSUN in Action”.
At the Aso Villa leading to Supreme Court stern looking armed security personnel mounted guard, apparently to wade off the striking workers
from gaining entrance.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the stoppage of vehicles into the road leading to the Supreme Court was an order from the Chief of Army Staff.
He blamed the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government through the Wages and Salaries Commission for the poor handling of the
agreement, and vowed that the strike will continue indefinitely to show their seriousness.
The strike action has affected activities at the Supreme Court, National judicial Council (NJC) Federal Judicial Service Commission
(FJSC), National Judicial Institute (NJI), Court of Appeal, National Industrial Court (NIC) and Federal High Court.
However, staff of the FCT Judicial Service Committee have joined their federal staff counterpart in a solidarity strike.
When we visited the FCT High Court headquarters in Maitama but the place was under lock and key and security guards were turning back
litigants, lawyers and staff.
Similarly Chief Magistrates Court in Wuse Zone II was deserted leaving
only security guards in sight.
Speaking with Nigerian Pilot, the national president of JUSUN, Marwan
Mustapha Adamu said the strike is due to the insincerity on the part
of the federal government.
“The agreement was reached since 2009 and since then the circular was not issued so the National Salary and Wages Commission cannot
implement it. Right now we are collecting N17,000 as minimum wage, while the agreement said we sould collect N37,000 since 2009. 32 state governments have implemented this agreement since. It is only the federal government that is adamant”.
According to Adamu “In 2012, money was released to the head of the judiciary to implement this consolidated salary issues but to our\ greatest dismay, we were not paid and the said money was returned to the federal government’s coffers by the end of last year. So we want to know what is happening”.
He said, JUSUN gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to implement the document or face industrial action but the government
ignored the warning.
“At the expiration of the 21 days, we gave another 10 days to show that we are flexible yet the government ignored us. It is unfortunate that the only language our government understands is strike action. So we have commenced the strike action. The strike is indefinite.
Today we will meet with the ministry of Labour at the Labour House to discuss further. The CJN has already ordered the CR to
get the facts of the matter and brief her so that she can itimate the presidency”, Adamu revealed.
Also speaking to Nigerian Pilot, the Deputy National President of JUSUN, Dr. Samuel Adesanya, “This thing has been lingering since 2009. Former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Kutigi and the former President of the Court of Appeal were part of the NJC’s decision that approved that document in 2009 and since then, we have not been benefitting. Most of the states have implemented this document but federal staff are still on the old salary scale”.
Meanwhile, the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim has disclosed that the leadership of the third arm of
government (Judiciary) is holding meetings with JUSUN officials to resolve the lingering matter.
Ibrahim however wondered why staff of the Court of Appeal will join strike, claiming that they (staff) are not members of JUSUN.
But in a quick reaction, the Deputy National President of JUSUN Dr. Samuel Adesanya said the Chief Registrar does not know what he is
talking about when he (the CR) claimed that staff of the Court of Appeal are not members of JUSUN.
“The CR himself is a member. What does he mean? Any staff of the judiciary that is not a judge is a member of JUSUN by virtue of our affiliation with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). He is only pretending”.
All efforts to get to the CJN for reaction proved abortive at the time of filing this report.