OBEY COURT ORDER ON FINANCIAL AUTONOMY OF THE JUDICIARY
We of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights (CDWR) support the ongoing strike action of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria with the demand on the state governments to obey the judgment delivered by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which ordered the states to comply with financial independence of the state judiciary. We call on all state governments to comply as the demand of the union is part of the working class struggle to deepen democracy.
We condemn in the strongest terms the pillaging of financial resources meant for the state judiciary by the state Governors and call for independent running of the state judiciary under the democratic control of all interest groups in the judiciary including representatives of judicial workers. We commend the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for extending solidarity to the union.
The judgment of the court delivered by Honorable Justice A.F.A Ademola of the Federal High Court in January 2014 directed that funds meant for state judiciary as allocations from the Federation/Consolidated Revenue Fund should be paid directly to heads of the state courts. The court also declared as unconstitutional, null and void the piece-meal payments/allocations of funds through the Ministries of Finance in the states to the state judiciary at the pleasure of state Governors.
However, the financial autonomy of the judiciary will mean fundamentally nothing if it does not translate into improved welfare and conditions of the judicial workers. We therefore call on the leadership of the union to link the demand of the strike to the living standards of their rank and file members to include such demands on wages, pension, study leave, among others. The fact that the strike enjoys nationwide support of the rank and file of the union including the federal court workers further shows the need to widen the demands.
Also importantly, the union leadership must carefully explain the basis for the demand of the strike to the wider public and establish its link with wider access to justice for all. This approach in addition to organizing mass sensitisation rallies will help the strike to win the demands.
However, given the current lopsided capitalist system, the judiciary cannot be truly independent to protect the fundamental interests of the working masses without a conscious struggle to bring out a social revolution under which the working people can democratically control the judiciary. This is why we of the CDWR advocate that the trade unions build a genuine working people's political alternative to fight for a working class socialist solution and strategy for the proper running of society