Judiciary, court processes grounded in Akwa Ibom as JUSUN begins strike

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Judiciary activities in Akwa Ibom State have been grounded following the indefinite strike action by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN on Tuesday.

Recall that the national leadership of JUSUN in a circular dated April 1, ordered the shut down of various courts across the country from Tuesday, April 1.

The circular signed by JUSUN’s General Secretary, I. M. Adetola directed all states and zonal heads of the union to comply with the strike.

The union said it had at its last National Executive Meeting on March 13, 2021 in Abuja, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary with a threat that it will resume the suspended national strike action.

“Therefore, as a result of the public holiday on April 5, 2021, the strike action has been postponed to Tuesday, April 6, 2021. You are directed to shut down courts/departments in your states until further notice from the National Secretariat of JUSUN in Abuja,” the circular read in part.

Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Godwin Abraham as well as other staff and lawyers in the state it was learnt were barred from entering into the judiciary premises in Uyo, the State capital.

When our correspondent visited, the judiciary complex was under lock and key, even as heavily built men suspected to be JUSUN members manned the gates at the early hours of today and didn’t allow anyone to gain entrance.

The members stationed at the gate were seen with placards while some placards were also pasted on the gate with various inscriptions such as ‘on financial autonomy we stand’.

The Chief judge it was learnt came to his office but was stopped by the men at the gate and he ‘quietly and peacefully’ left the premises without resistance ‘

When our correspondent visited the State high court, Fulga Street Uyo, the same thing was replicated as the entrance was locked and no one was in sight.

However when the JUSUN Chairman, Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Oku Umoh was contacted he said the state union must comply with the directives of the national body.

He said the national council has the supreme power to call off the strike as the states cannot negotiate with governors.

On the implication of the strike action on justice dispensation, Umoh said, “it’s unfortunate, the implication is that all the judiciary activities have been grounded and there is nothing we can do because the directive for the strike is from the national and we will totally comply with this.

“We are aware that court processes and judicial activities including affiliate institutions like the police and the correctional services have been stalled but as it stands, there is nothing we can do until the national says otherwise.”

“We hope that soon, our demands would be met and the strike called off.” Umoh added

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