By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – Courts in Kogi on Monday resumed work after four months of strike embarked upon by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) .
The strike was over non-payment of salaries and non-release of subvention to the Judiciary.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja, the State Chairman of JUSUN, Emmanuel Waniko said the reopening was sequel to the suspension of the strike on the orders of the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
“As you must have heard, the NJC in its quest to resolve the impasse, sent a sub-committee to the state and, among other things, to wade into the matter with the view for amicable resolution.
“Various mediators, including the Kogi State Elders Forum, Traditional Rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Jama’atu Nasir Islam and other Government Representative agents, waded into it, but could not resolve it as the union and the government could not reach consensus,” he said.
He said that the NJC sub-committee among others, directed that the strike embarked upon on the 1Dec. 11, 2018 by JUSUN members, be suspended to give room for further deliberation.
Mr Williams Aliwo, a legal practitioner and former chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Lokoja branch, described the suspension as a big relief for inmates, police, judiciary, lawyers and the society.
“There are many people in prison that are not supposed to be there till now.
“Many are being kept in police custody because the offences for which they were arrested are not ordinarily bailable.
“They are supposed to arraign them in court. Keeping custody of such people is certainly costly for the police and the prisons.
“The re-opening of the courts is a big relief for us all,” he said.
Mohammed Abaji, also a legal practitioner, expressed delight that the courts had finally reopened, adding that staff were all in their various offices on Monday morning preparing the courts for normal sittings.
Abaji expressed the hope that necessary committees for data capturing would be put in place for commencement of payment of salary arrears to the Judiciary staff within the week.
Mr Saeed Saqeeb, Information Officer for the state Judiciary, told NAN that the entire Judiciary in the state had reopened.
“We are now waiting for them (Executive) to decide the modality for resolution of the impasse.
“We have taken the first step in line with the directive of the NJC,” he said. (NAN)