JUSUN Strike: PALU backs JUSUN on Judicial autonomy, Wants Exact Monetary Percentage enacted into Law
The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) has said enacting exact Monetary Percentage into Law is the way forward to the on going Industrial action by JUSUN.
PALU made this suggestion on Thursday in a statement signed by its President, Chief Emeka JP Obegolu Esq. and made available to BarristerNG.
According to Chief Obegolu, the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) is aware of the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), that shut down all courts in Nigeria since Tuesday, April 6, 2021, and thus crippled court proceedings across the federation. The reason for the indefinite strike of JUSUN is to press home the demand for financial autonomy for the Nigeria’s judicial arm of government.
“Unfortunately, State Courts (Judiciary) in Nigeria have over the years relied on the Executive for their funding especially in the area of capital projects. This is clearly antithetical to the principle of separation of powers as guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution. PALU emphasizes the need for complete financial independence of all arms of government. The Nigerian Constitution acknowledges the importance of financial autonomy for the Judiciary and the Legislature as it made provisions for same in of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
“We note that the Federal High Court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, had on the 13th of January 2014, held that financial autonomy for the judiciary is a constitutional provision that must be complied with by the executive branch of government thus unequivocally confirming the autonomy of the Judiciary in line with the spirit and letters of the Constitution.
“We also note that the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari signed into law Executive Order No. 10 of 2020, granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the federation, requiring all states to include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budget; and also ordered the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to the state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state that refuses to grant such autonomy.
“Despite the clear provisions of the law, the state Governments in Nigeria have refused to give full implementation to the express provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
“PALU is of the opinion that for the judiciary in Nigeria to be totally financially independent, the 1999 constitution of Nigeria should be amended, or an Act of the National Assembly enacted to provide for the allocation of percentage of income of the state or federal Government to the Judiciary, Executive and Legislature, to wit:
- That there be inserted in the 1999 Constitution, the exact percentage of money accruing to the judiciary and legislature for each state of the federation and the federal Government.
- That the said exact percentage of money accruing to and payable to the Judiciary in a fiscal year, be deductible as a first line charge from the federation account, consequent upon the respective budgets of each arm of government.
“What this presupposes is that even when the appropriation bill is prepared, the money standing credit to the judiciary and legislature is already constitutionally ascertainable. This will also prevent arbitrary interference with the budget of the judiciary and legislature, as the executive will not have the powers to cut down on the budget of the judiciary and the legislature will only approve the budget of the judiciary as it is, this will in turn prevent the judiciary and legislators being at the mercy of the executive.
“We at Pan African Lawyers Union wish to appeal to the appropriate authorities in Nigeria and the key stakeholders in this struggle for financial autonomy to ensure that at the end of the day, the financial autonomy and independence of all the arms of government is actualized” he said.
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