The strike action embarked upon by judicial workers on Monday which led to the closure of courts in Akure as they joined their counterparts across the country to protest the non-implementation of the Federal High Court judgment on the financial autonomy of the judiciary has been described as illegal by the Nigeria Bar Association.
The Industrial Court, Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, State High Courts and other lower courts were not opened for activities in compliance with the strike action.
Chairman of the Akure branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Lawrence Dare, commenting on the strike action said:
“You cannot go on strike on a matter that is not related to an industrial dispute. The court has passed a judgment and the matter has been resolved.
“If you need to ensure the implementation of the judgment, you return to the court and, perhaps, sue for contempt. The strike action is illegal, null and void,” he said.
According to Dare, it is a contradiction that the court that gave judgment in favour of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has been closed down in respect of the judgment.
“If the court was closed down when they wanted to seek the interpretation to the provisions of the Constitution, how would it have been done?” He queried.
Dare also rejected the call for such autonomy that would put money in the hands of judges, saying such would corrupt judges and made the system a laughing stock.
The Ondo State Chairman of JUSUN, Mr. Femi Ogunode, justified the strike, saying it was going to be a total in Ondo State.
He said the strike would continue until their demands were met, noting that it was needful for stakeholders to respect the Memorandum of Understanding signed regarding the implementation of the financial autonomy.
“It is a constitutional matter. We have gone to court to seek the interpretation to Sections 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution, and the court ruled in favour of the financial autonomy of the judiciary.
“We thought they would commence implementation December 2014, but that was not done. So, we are expecting the government to respect the decision of the court,” Ogunode said.