Governors, Speakers, Buhari’s chief of staff meet over judiciary workers’ strike


Representatives of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies, on Thursday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, in Abuja, over the ongoing nationwide strike of judiciary workers.

Speaking with State House reporters at the end of the meeting which held at Mr Gambari’s office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who is also the Deputy Chair of the NGF, appealed to the striking workers to call off their strike in the interest of the nation.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the governors along with the labour minister, Chris Ngige, postponed a meeting scheduled to be held with the leadership of the striking workers indefinitely on Thursday.

Judiciary workers had embarked on the indefinite nationwide strike on April 6 in protest against the denial of the judiciary of financial autonomy especially by state level.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Tambuwal told reporters that the governors had met with the speakers and the Chief Judges of various states, and would continue to engage the leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria over the strike

“We’ve just finished talking to the Speakers, and indeed the State Chief Judges, and the Judiciary, to continue to engage and the Minister of Labour is also engaging with the striking bodies to appeal to them, to appreciate the fact that we have made progress.

“We’re appealing to them in the interest of this country, they should call off the strike”, he said.

According to the governor, a lot of progress had been made in the negotiations and hopefully the matter would be put to rest by next week.

“We’re here with the chairman and leadership of the Speakers’ Conference. The Solicitor General of the Federation, and SSA to Mr President on Niger Delta, who has been a member of the Technical Committee on the implementation of the autonomy of state legislatures and the judiciary.

“Together with the Chief of Staff to the President, we have just finished a meeting on how to put finishing touches and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, on the final implementation of the financial autonomy of the state legislatures and the judiciary.

“We have made reasonable progress and we have agreed, after receiving the final report of the technical committee, to meet on Monday, because of the urgency of the matter and finally, resolve whatever issues are there,” he said.

He also expressed the commitment of those in leadership positions to build viable institutions for the country.

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“Well, I can assure you that all of us are committed to building institutions, particularly our parliaments and the judiciary in our respective states, as democratically elected governors, and we are doing whatever it takes to make sure that the issues are resolved.

“As I told you before, some of the issues are constitutional and when matters have to do with the constitution, you have to be sure of what you’re doing that you’re actually following the Constitution,” he said.

‘Governors in support of judiciary’s financial autonomy’

Mr Tambuwal said the governors had always been in support of the autonomy of state legislature and judiciary.

He added, “From the very beginning, during the 8th Assembly, under the leadership of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Dogara, the NGF under Abdulaziz Yari then, met with them and supported the financial autonomy for the state legislatures and the judiciary.

“And that is why with that support, we were able to achieve the passage of this amendment by the National Assembly and the state legislatures across the country.

“So, the governors are unequivocally in support of the autonomy of these institutions.’’

PREMIUM TIMES reports that JUSUN had scaled up its battle for financial autonomy after it obtained a court judgment affirming the constitutional provisions granting financial autonomy to the judiciary in January 2014.

In their bid to ensure compliance with the judgment, the workers embarked on a protracted three weeks nationwide strike in January 2015.

They had called off the strike after governors and other stakeholders made commitments to meet workers’ demands, pledges that were largely jettisoned.

(NAN)

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