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April 12, 2021

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Striking judiciary workers will hold two crucial meetings with different parties in a bid to resolve the crisis that has grounded courts across Nigeria since Tuesday.

The first of the meeting is with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). The meeting will hold today, Thursday, between the NBA leadership and that of the

The striking judiciary workers will also meet with state governors; although details of that meeting were yet to be concluded at the time of this report.

The JUSUN had embarked on the strike in protest against the denial of the judicial arm of government its financial autonomy granted it in the Nigerian Constitution and affirmed by a January 2014 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

JUSUN had gone ahead with the strike which enters its third day on Thursday, despite Monday’s appeal by the NBA to the union to shelve the strike for the sake of the justice administration system which the lawyers’ association said was still in the recovery phase following the COVID-19 constraints.

PREMIUM TIMES reported Wednesday that the seeming aloofness of major stakeholders like the federal and state governments, and the NBA, could prolong the strike, similar to the three weeks long strike JUSUN embarked on in January 2015.

Our reporter learnt late Wednesday that the NBA reached out to the striking workers for a meeting to be held between the two parties on Thursday.

Both the NBA’s publicity secretary, Nduka Rapulu, and a tPremimop official of JUSUN, Jimoh Musa, separately confirmed the scheduled meeting to PREMIUM TIMES.

In a text message sent to our reporter late Wednesday, Mr Rapulu, said, “NBA will be having a meeting with JUSUN tomorrow (Thursday).”

Mr Musa, who acts for the president of JUSUN, Marwan Adamu, who is recuperating from injuries he sustained in an accident on Tuesday, told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday that the meeting would hold in Abuja.

He said, “I have been informed by our secretariat that the NBA president, Olumide Akpata, reached out yesterday (Wednesday) seeking to meet with us (JUSUN) today.

“It was agreed that the meeting will hold in Abuja at about 1 p.m. today.”

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The meeting with the NBA is expected to be held with a larger number of JUSUN officials, following the Tuesday meeting which only a handful of the union leaders attended with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad.

This newspaper reported that Mr Musa led the delegation of JUSUN officials to the meeting with the CJN who appealed for the strike to the suspended to enable the government to meet the workers’ demand.

Mr Musa had, in response, informed the CJN that members of the delegation were not enough to reach a decision and promised to table his appeal at a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the union.

The union leader told our reporter on Wednesday that the NEC would meet at the weekend.

Union to meet with NGF

Mr Musa also informed our reporter on Thursday that the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) reached out to JUSUN late Wednesday and a meeting with the representatives of the governors was being planned.

The crisis is not likely to be resolved without the active input of the governors, who are the main target of the workers’ strike.

The union’s grievances are less against the federal government which has been complying with a limited financial autonomy for the judiciary, by placing the federal judiciary in the first line charge of the budget.

What is left to be achieved at the federal level is for the judiciary to be able to send its budget to the National Assembly for passage without a prior tinkering by the executive arm of government.

At the state level, the judiciary is totally at the mercy of the governors who only release money to the chief judge of the various states as they please.

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