Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, has appealed to members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to call off their industrial action.
Justice Muhammad made the appeal to the judiciary workers following a meeting with some JUSUN officials in his chamber at the Supreme Court in Abuja on Tuesday, his media aide, Ahuraka Isah, said in a statement.
Members of the union commenced a nationwide strike on Tuesday in protest against the refusal of the state governments to enforce financial autonomy in the judiciary.
According to the CJN, he would have loved to speak to each governor on implementing financial autonomy for the judiciary, but noted that doing so may lead to the governors asking for favours from the apex court.
He decried that the unintended implications of the strike were better imagined than seen as they have spiral effects, including on children and the federal judiciary.
The statement read: “The unintended sufferers of this strike are better imagined. It has spiral effects, including on our children and on the federal judiciary, which is a lesser culprit,” the CJ was quoted saying.
“Ordinarily, I would say let me talk to the individual 36 state governors, which amounts to asking for their favours, but some of them would ask me to do 10 favours in return.
“This is why, as a judge, I am prohibited from asking for favours.”
Justice Muhammad, therefore, urged them to sheath their swords while the process of making state governments obey Executive Order 10 and various court judgments on the autonomy of the judiciary were being implemented.
A Federal High Court had on January 13, 2014, confirmed the autonomy of the judiciary, in line with the spirit and letters of the Constitution.
The judgment was followed by a Memorandum of Understanding between JUSUN and relevant stakeholders, under which the parties agreed to give effect to the judgement of the court.
In May 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari also signed Executive Order 10 which sought to treat the funds due to the state judiciaries as a first-line charge and require that the funds be paid directly to the heads of court concerned.
However, state governors are yet to carry out the implementation of this executive order.