The national leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has again faulted the partial reopening directive of its Lagos State chapter.
Following an extraordinary meeting of the union on Wednesday in Abuja over the matter, the leaders described the partial reopening directive as unacceptable and one that cannot stand.
JUSUN National Treasurer, Jimoh Musa, told reporters at the end of the meeting that they have resolved to send delegates to Lagos to verify if courts were partially open and if found true, they would be sealed up again.
He stated that the partial reopening of the courts in Lagos was tantamount to a war between the state chapter and JUSUN chapters in the South West.
In a circular signed by JUSUN General Secretary, Isaiah Adetola, the union reminded all branch chairman and executives that the strike was called by the National Executive Council (NEC) of JUSUN, and no branch or chapter has the powers to call a local congress or enter into any agreement with its employers to waive the directive of the national body.
It also declared that no branch or chapter was authorised to open the door of courts in Nigeria, including the Lagos chapter until the points in disputes were resolved.
All judiciary workers in the FCT and all states were asked to stay in their homes until developments were communicated by the NEC.
JUSUN Chairman in Lagos, Shobowale Kehinde, had in a statement dubbed an addendum last week, said the chapter had relaxed its strike rules to allow for clearance of backlogs, reading of judgement and decongestion of prison occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSars protest.
“Work and official duties are constrained to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesdays of every week remain strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike,” the statement said.
Kehinde explained that the chapter considered the partial opening because the state government had met 70 per cent of their demands and was speedily looking into other demands which results were manifesting.
Despite the decision of the national body overruling the addendum, the Lagos chapter again gave the clear for a partial reopening on Wednesday till Friday.
But the national body, in a swift reaction, overruled the Lagos chapter and declared that the strike would go on in Lagos and all courts until the implementation of the financial autonomy of the judiciary was secured in all 36 states of the Federation.
When Channels Television crew visited the Lagos High Courts, it observed that judiciary workers had partially resumed work in compliance with the directives of the state chapter.
Although the courtrooms at the Ikeja High Court were locked against litigants, the cash office was opened for those who came to depose to affidavits.
The two main gates into the courtroom complex were also locked to prevent vehicular movement into the court, but the smaller gate was open for pedestrians.
A few workers who came to the court, however, left for home when it became clear that the courts were not going to sit as there were no judges on the ground.
However, JUSUN workers at the Federal High Court in Lagos did not join the partial resumption directive and the court remained locked.
This development comes 22 days into the strike called by the JUSUN national secretariat to demand full financial judicial autonomy in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)