Financial Autonomy: Lawyers react as JUSUN bars workers from Lagos High Courts



Some Lagos-based lawyers have given different opinions on the strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JUSUN on Tuesday morning, prevented court workers and other court users from gaining access to the Lagos High Court, TBS and Court of Appeal, Lagos State.

Members of the union sealed the main gates of the courts with chains in of the indefinite nationwide strike which began on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

NAN reports that the JUSUN national leadership  in a circular on  April 1, directed the shutdown of courts across the country from April 6.

This is until state governments comply with the Constitution, court judgments and other instruments which confer or reemphasise  the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

While reacting to the development, Mr Bayo Akinlade,  former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch, told NAN  that the independence of the judiciary was  nonnegotiable and that he  supported JUSUN’s  position.

“It is my strong opinion that each NBA branch step up their advocacy in ensuring that the judiciary gains independence.

“One positive thing about JUSUN is that they have always been in the forefront of fighting for the independence of the judiciary.

“We may like some  of them who give the judiciary a image ,  especially with regards to corruption, but this action on autonomy is in the right direction,” he  said.

According to him, the judiciary has been deliberately underfunded just like any other institution that has an important role to play in the empowerment of citizens.

He urged the government to listen to the demands of the union.

Akinlade, however, urged the judiciary, NBA and JUSUN to work together to deal with the intrusion into the judiciary to find a lasting solution.

In his opinion, Mr Chris Ayiyi, Principal Partner, Ayiyi Chambers, Apapa, said  the strike would press the demand for implementation of  financial  autonomy for  the judiciary.

According to him, for the judiciary to attain full autonomy, the constitution should be amended by separating the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from that of the Minister of Justice.

“The Chief Justice of a state should have nothing to with the of that state in terms of appointment or recommendations.

“The judiciary should be more empowered for appointment and removal of any airing judicial officers,” Ayiyi advised.

However, Mr Yemi Omodele, Principal Partner, Yemi Omodele Chambers, Ikeja, urged JUSUN to suspend the strike and allow NBA to intervene in the matter.

“JUSUN needs to have a rethink and suspend the strike and let NBA intervene as promised,” Omodele said. (NAN)