By: Valentine Adese and Ifeanyi Okonkwo
Judiciary activities have been totally crippled in the Magistrate and Customary Courts in Ondo State, following the state government’s refusal to pay Judiciary staff members their salaries and its failure to implement an agreement reached with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on financial autonomy for the Judiciary.
The gates leading to the entrance of the Courts were shutdown while casual workers in the facilities were refused entry by the Judiciary members of the union, as a sign of protest against the state government.
You would recall that a Federal High Court (FHC) had granted the prayers of JUSUN for Financial Autonomy in its Judgment delivered on 13th January, 2014.
In Plateau State, Judiciary workers have returned to the Court after an attempted move to settle their issues out of Court with the Plateau State Government is beginning to fail.
The matter, which came up before Hon. Justice Ademola on 23rd April, 2016, has been adjourned to 23rd June, 2016 for continuation on hear on the report of settlement between the Union and the Plateau State Government.
You would recall that JUSUN members in Plateau State were on strike before the 2015 general election but, suspended it in order to give way for the Governor Simon Lalong led All Progressive Congress (APC) administration to gain footing.
When the Union attempted to resume their strike recently, the Plateau State Government, pleaded for extension of time, which was honour by the Union.
You would also recall that the Union had made moves to seize some of the accounts of the state government during their earlier strike under the immediate past administration but, abandoned it owing to the new APC administration.
The state accounts targeted then were in Zenith Bank, FCMB, and First Bank.
According to sources, the Union has head back to Court because indications have shown that the present administration in the state is still not helping matters.
Our sources said, “Since the granted the state government’s out of court settlement application, no formal meeting has been called by the state government for us to iron out the issues. We feel abandoned!
“As you see us now in the judiciary over half of the staff have not received January salary.”