Monday, April 12, 2021

‘JUSUN strike infringing on prison inmates human rights’

“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.”

• April 6, 2021

Some lawyers and litigants in Kaduna expressed diverse views on the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), which led to the nationwide shutdown of courts.

Most lawyers interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed support for the strike, with a few saying that the action would lead to the collapse of the country’s justice system.

A lawyer, David James, who opposed the strike, argued that it might bring about the collapse of the country’s justice system.

According to Mr James, the strike will deny those awaiting trial quick resolution of their cases, while lawyers will be made redundant, affecting their income.

“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. Their cases are further delayed in courts.

“For example, some of my clients are unfairly held in police detention because they have not been arraigned before a court due to the strike,” Mr James explained.

He urged the government to listen to JUSUN’s demands to 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.

“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,” Mr Abdullahi added.

Also, Paul Daniel said it would be good if the demand of JUSUN on autonomy was granted, as the judiciary is a vital arm of government.

“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,” said Mr Daniel.

A litigant, Ruqayya Adamu, expressed sadness over the strike and expressed the hope that it will be over soon.

Ms Adamu, whose civil case was slated for a mention, said it was unfortunate that the courts were closed due to the strike.

Another litigant, Aliyu Ibrahim, said he left home early 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.”

JUSUN, in a circular dated April 1, had ordered the closure of courts nationwide from April 6.

The order followed the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement the judiciary’s full financial autonomy.


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