Some lawyers and litigants in Kaduna on Tuesday expressed diverse views on the strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) which led to closure of courts nationwide.
A lawyer, David James, who opposed the strike argued that it might bring about the collapse of justice system in the country.
According to James, the strike will deny those awaiting trial quick resolution of their cases, while lawyers will be made redundant, thus affecting their income.
He further said that the industrial action by JUSUN might increase the level of poverty and crime, if not resolved on time.
“The action was infringing on the fundamental human rights of prison inmates and will also make it impossible for accused persons to be granted bail, in such instance, it is the inmates that suffer because of the strike, as their cases are further delayed in courts.
“For example, some of my clients are being unfairly held in police detention because they have not been arraigned before a court due to the strike,” he said.
He urged the government to listen to JUSUN’s demands, if that will bring about reforms in the judicial system.
Karim Abdullahi, a lawyer who expresses support for JUSUN, said it would be wrong if the government remained unconcerned about developments in the Judiciary.
He advised the government and the union to resolve the issues urgently.
“The ones that have to be negotiated should be negotiated and in the process, there would be a compromise, there would be no winner, no loser.
“The JUSUN cannot have everything it wants, and the government cannot fold its arms and feel unconcerned, let them sit and agree on the fundamentals to ensure that the courts become functional again,” Abdullahi added.
He however noted that the strike would hit hard on inmates standing criminal trial for five to six years.
Abdullahi called on the government to yield to the demands of the judiciary workers as it is the right thing to do and for justice to be granted to those awaiting trial.
Also, Paul Daniel, said that it would be good if the demand of JUSUN on autonomy was granted, as the judiciary is a vital arm of government.
According to him, the judiciary workers were fighting a good cause, though the strike would definitely cost him and his clients a lot.
“I support the financial autonomy of the judiciary for proper checks and balances in the government.
“If the judiciary must remain impartial, then financial independence or autonomy is an indispensable factor,” Daniel said.
Also, a litigant, Ruqayya Adamu, expressed sadness over the strike and expressed the hope that it will be over soon.
Adamu, whose civil case was slated for mention, said it was unfortunate that the courts were closed due to the strike.
Another litigant, Aliyu Ibrahim, said he left home early so as to appear before the court, but was disappointed to meet the court closed.
He also appealed for a quick resolution of the issues, “so that the common man will access justice.”
NAN report that the National leadership of JUSUN in a circular dated April 1, ordered the closure of courts nationwide as from April 6.
The order followed the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement full financial autonomy of the judiciary. (NAN)