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Rights group seeks end to JUSUN strike

Published by The Nation on Tue, 04 May 2021

By Adebisi OnanugaAn advocacy group, Access to Justice (AJ), has pleaded with the striking judiciary workers tocall off their strike.It was embarked on to press for the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.The group made the appeal in a statement signed by the Convener, Mr. Joseph Otteh and the Project Director, Deji Ajare.It asked JUSUN to show good faith by calling off the strike.The Judiciary workers under the auspices of Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had embarked on indefinite strike since April 6, over the refusal of the state governors to implement full autonomy for the judiciary as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended .Access to Justice urged the striking workers to consider the rights of detainee, who were denied justice since the commencement of the strike.Access to Justice admitted that financial dependence threatens the efficiency of the judiciary, and makes it an appendage of the executive.The group also recognised the need for JUSUNs strike and expressed concern about the negative impact the non-implementation of the autonomy on the judiciaryIt however, emphasised that there is need to ensure the preservation and protection of human rights.Access to Justice expressed fears that the current situation presents an open ticket for human rights violations, overcrowded cells and Public Health Risk.It stated that: There are reports from across the country that Police cells and Custodial Centres are overcrowded, because those who have been detained since the start of the strike could not get bail as courts remained closed.This is a violation of their rights as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.As Nigeria and the World continue to battle the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worrying that detention centres are holding more detainees than they were designed to hold, making them fertile grounds for the transmission of COVID-19.The group however, commends the pledge by the Governors Forum to begin the implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary by May, 2021.It promised to closely monitor the governors promise to ensure full compliance with constitutional provisions on financial autonomy for the judiciary.
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