Judicial workers under the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) have launched an indefinite nationwide strike, thus shutting down the Supreme Court complex in Abuja in line with their industrial action.
The strike began on Tuesday, based on their demands which include a financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government.
The development came as a defiance to the appeal by the Nigerian Bar Association to shelve the strike, saying it was ill-timed, considering the COVID-19 constraints the Nigerian courts had been battling within the last year.
Other Supreme Court workers who are returning from the Easter break were not able to access the complex on Tuesday as the two key judiciary institutions – the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) – which share the same premises with the Supreme Court were also affected.
Staff buses were also seen making a detour upon arriving at the barricaded gate of the Supreme Court.
The court located in the Three Arms Zone in Abuja, a neighbourhood it shares with the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly Complex.
Workers of both the NJC and the FJSC are part of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the umbrella body of all judiciary workers at all levels in the nation, and are also bound by the strike declared by the union.
The action taken by the union at the Supreme Court Tuesday morning is expected to be replicated across all Nigerian courts.
JUSUN on April 1 had issued a circular to the effect of its strike, saying it was necessitated by the failure of the federal and state governments to implement a judgment of the Federal High Court, which granted financial autonomy to the judicial arm of government.
The union stated that it had at its last National Executive meeting on March 13, 2021 in Abuja, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary with a threat that “failure of which JUSUN will have no other option but to resume the suspended national strike action.”
“Therefore, as a result of the public holiday on April 5, 2021, the strike action has been postponed to Tuesday, April 6, 2021,” the circular partly read.