Activities have resumed in courts across Nigeria as the Judicial Staff Association of Nigeria (JUSUN) called off its strike action, which commenced on April 6 and lasted for more than two months. The judiciary staff embarked on a strike action over the refusal of state governors to implement the provision of section 121(3) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which provides for the financial autonomy of state judiciaries and legislatures. After several engagements between the Federal Government, JUSUN and state governors, it appears that the parties have come to a resolution, as the union suspended their industrial action on Wednesday, June 16.
It will be recalled that governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had indicated the intention to implement the relevant Constitutional provision by May 2021. On June 8, the Federal Government directed members of JUSUN and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) to urgently reopen all the courts and the State Houses of Assembly so that the Memorandum of Action signed by all parties on June 4, could take effect. Under the agreement, the governors were given a 45-day window, with effect from the date of the agreement, to implement its terms.
Although the closure of courts facilitated by the strike action raised concern in light of the implication of the absence of judicial activities for the larger society, the strike by JUSUN enjoyed support across the country, particularly among legal practitioners, who were of the opinion that the union was fighting a worthy cause.