The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) through its president Olumide Akpata has directed all its branch chairmen nationwide to effectively mobilise their members and visits state governors’ and pressurize states who are unwilling to implement judicial financial autonomy as demanded by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
According to a letter sent to lawyers on Friday, Olumide Akpata, president of the NBA stated that Governors had shown no willingness to comply with the law and a judicial decision on the demand of JUSUN and has therefore urged lawyers to visit the State Houses every Monday and present a written demand for implementation of judicial financial autonomy until the governors comply.
The directive came few hours after the striking members of the JUSUN, on Friday, issued a similar threat to stage peaceful protests in the 36 states and Abuja on Monday. JUSUN members had embarked on the nationwide strike since April 6 over their longstanding demand for the financial independence of the third arm of government as stipulated in the constitution.
NBA had backed JUSUN’s demand, but kicked against the timing of the strike, Mr Akapta recalled in his Friday’s statement. He, however, said the association had, in a bid to find a solution to the crisis, held various meetings with JUSUN officers, representatives of the federal government, the National Judicial Council (NJC), body of state Chief Judges, and others.
Mr. Akpata has also described the demand for financial autonomy as “legitimate, constitutional and is in the best interest of the Judiciary as it is one of the key parameters for enthroning independence of the Judiciary and fostering democracy." He added that “it has become apparent that most State Governments are not ready or willing to implement the constitutional provisions which grant financial autonomy to the Judiciary.
“After due consultations with several stakeholders, we have come to the inevitable conclusion that the NBA must take more decisive steps at this troubling moment. We must, as a body, act in consonance with the aims and objects of our Constitution, by effectively playing our role in the defence of the independence of the Judiciary which this fight for financial autonomy seeks to achieve".