JUSUN: Lagos lawyers back call for suspension of strike

Some Lagos-based lawyers on Tuesday supported the call by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to end its ongoing strike.

The judiciary workers are demanding financial autonomy.

The lawyers made their views known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

They said that JUSUN was right to demand financial autonomy of the judiciary, but a continued blanket application of the strike would amount to the victimisation of the wrong party.

NAN reports that the NBA first Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, made the proposal during a visit by JUSUN national leaders to officially communicate the circumstances leading to the union’s ongoing strike action, as well as seek the NBA’s support.

NAN reports that the call was contained in a press release made available to journalists on April 10, which was signed by the NBA Publicity Secretary, Dr Rapulu Nduka.

According to Mr Ademola Owolabi, Principal Partner, Owolabi Chambers, JUSUN was right to demand financial autonomy for the judicial arm.

Owolabi, however, said the strike embarked upon by JUSUN was akin to collective punishment as some states and the Federal Government had implemented the policy.

“This is where the concept of a national labour union in a federal state is undesirable and unhelpful.

“If Bauchi has implemented financial autonomy, why should litigants in Bauchi State be denied access to courts,” he questioned.

Owolabi said that JUSUN should not be allowed to become a law unto itself.

He advocated that labour union activities must be limited to their respective employers.

“As such, JUSUN should adhere to the sanctity of federalism.

“This also applies to other labour associations that bring pains and chaos with their nationwide strike,” Owolabi added.

In his own view, Mr Chibuikem Opara of Justification Law Firm, Ikeja, said the NBA was right in its directives.

According to him, a continued blanket application of the strike, as JUSUN was doing will amount to the victimisation of the wrong party.

Opara agreed that JUSUN was fighting a just cause which would ultimately be in everybody’s favour.

He added that it was ideal that the judiciary did not continue as a mere appendage to the executive arm.

Opara, however, said; “If the government at any level has complied with the demand, it should be encouraged and not lumped together with perennial defaulters.

“What is the motivation to comply if both the compliers and defaulters are treated equally?

He urged JUSUN to call off the strike where there was compliance and watch other states comply with dispatch.

Mr Bodunrin Adewole of Legal Direct Chambers, Lagos, said the NBA proposal was very reasonable and should be accepted without delay.

“Since justice delayed is justice denied, the welfare of litigants ought to be seriously taken into consideration.

“This becomes more expedient as the strike is coming shortly after the #Endsars protest in October 2020, which caused and is still causing a lot of disruption to the hearing of cases in the Lagos State judiciary,” Adewole said. (NAN)