For the past one month, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has been on strike, according to union, the purpose of the strike was to draw attention to the financial autonomy of Nigeria’s Judiciary. However, some Governors are yet to say something concerning the closure of the courts in their state, this led to the Lawyers in Anambra to block the gate of the Government House in Akwa, insisting that the Governor of the Anambra, Dr. Willie Obiano must say something on the ongoing strike action which has caused matters to be put on hold in some Courts.
It was gathered that the Lawyers were led to the Government House by the Chairman of the Nnewi Branch of the NBA and the and Chairman, Committee of Chairmen, Barr Kingsley Awuka.
According to reports, CRIMECHANNELS gathered that the activities of the Lawyers at the gate hindered cars from going in and out of the Government House.
Speaking at the protest, Barr Kingsley Awuka said, “We came here for a peaceful protest. Our aim is just to drop a letter with the Governor, to let him know we are not happy about his silence on the state of Judiciary in the state. We have been here for a long time, and no one is attending to us, that is why we are doing this.”
“Anambra State branches of NBA are here to demand financial autonomy and independence of the judiciary from Governor Willie Obiano.”
“All the eight branches are represented here, and the leaders of NBA in the state are aware of this visit. We came with a few persons so that it will not seem as if we are out to embarrass the government, because we know what happened the last time all our members marched down here.”
“APGA (party in power) is a major beneficiary in the court system, but go round the state and see our court and how dilapidated they are. Judges sit without being well dressed because the courts are poorly ventilated.”
“Obiano has the capacity to do better in the justice sector, he does not have to look at other governors, because we did not look at other governors before voting him. We know that the JUSUN strike is nationwide, but since it started, all we have been hearing is Nigeria Governors Forum. We want our governor to speak for himself, and tell is the state of things here,” Awuka said.
Meanwhile, the protesters were later addressed by the the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, who collected the letter and promised to deliver it to Governor Obiano.
He said, “Thank you for this civilised protest. This is a nationwide matter. We have a formula here, which the state and the judiciary used to share allocation and it is what is received that is shared and not what is budgeted.”
“What is in the budget is only a statement of intent, but what is shared is a reality, based on what we have at hand. The points you have raised are not new to the government and there is an intention to fix them. The wider nature of financial autonomy is a national thing, and in Anambra, I can tell you that the Judiciary is independent, “he said.