NBA to set up monitoring team on judicial autonomy
• Commends JUSUN for suspending strike action
SEQUEL to the partial suspension of the strike action of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over the funding of the judiciary, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has decided to set up monitoring teams to ensure full compliance by the Federal and State Governments with the provisions of the constitution on funding of the Judiciary.
NBA President, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), who gave this indication Tuesday said the stakeholders’ monitoring teams to be established at both the federal and state levels, would include representatives of secretaries to the government, Attorneys-General, JUSUN, National Judicial Council [Federal level], Chief Registrars [State level], Nigerian Labour Congress [NLC], Ministries of Labour and Productivity and the Nigerian Bar Association.
In addition to monitoring compliance, these teams, Alegeh said, would also assist in the process of resolving any compliance issues that may arise and deal with them proactively to achieve the desired objective.
According to him, the NBA is committed to support efforts aimed at ensuring full compliance with the constitutional provisions as well as enforcing the judgment of the Federal High Court in favour of JUSUN, in the unlikely event that any level of Government fails to comply with the constitutional provisions on judicial funding.
The NBA’s president also commended the decision of JUSUN’s National Executive Committee [NEC]] to call off the nationwide strike action embarked upon by JUSUN to press home its demand for compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 on funding of the judiciary as well as to seek compliance with the Federal High Court judgment on the issue in the suit instituted by JUSUN against the National Judicial Council, The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorneys-General of the thirty six  States of the Federation.
Consequently, the NBA’s president appealed to all stakeholders to tread the path of constitutionality and collaborate positively to ensure that we have an independent and virile judiciary in Nigeria.
According to him, JUSUN has shown its willingness to embrace an amicable resolution of the impasse at the state level and the state governments should show their disposition towards an amicable resolution by declaring their willingness and commitment to comply with the Constitutional provisions on funding of the judiciary.
He said: “Instructively, JUSUN has not insisted on any formal documentation of this commitment to comply with the constitutional provisions.
“We see no difficulty in giving this commitment as all Governments have a legal obligation to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
We hope that the commitment sought by JUSUN would be promptly provided by the various State Governments to ensure that all courts are re-opened immediately.
“Our expectation is that this commitment would also be fully implemented by the Federal and state governments in a manner that ensures the independence of the Judiciary.
“The Chairmen of NBA branches are requested to immediately contact their respective State Governments to ensure that the commitment requested by JUSUN is promptly made to the State Chairman of JUSUN in their states to fast track the process of re-opening the courts,” he added.
JUSUN had on Monday suspended its strike action in all courts at the federal level on the basis of the assurances and commitment given by Federal Government to comply fully with the Provisions of Section 81 of the Constitution to wit;
Monies due to the Judiciary from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation shall be paid to the Heads of Court on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The practice of requiring the judiciary to process approvals through the Executive arm of Government shall cease forthwith. Compliance will take effect from January 2015.