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Judiciary, Legislative Strike May End Next Week, Says Labour Minister

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Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige has given assurance that the strike by legislative and Judiciary workers will end by next week.

Ngige gave the assurance after a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Supreme Court, Abuja, with some heads of courts, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad.

The minister said series of meeting with stakeholders, including state governors, have been scheduled for between yesterday and tomorrow “to iron out the few remaining grey areas.

He said the meeting, which was held in the chambers of the CJN, was to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of the financial autonomy provision for the Judiciary, for which court workers have been on strike since April 6, this year.

At the meeting, Justice Muhammad, upon being briefed on the progress made so far on the negotiation to address issues raised by the striking workers, urged the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to end the strike.

Ngige, who spoke with reporters while exiting the meeting venue, said: “There are some grey areas, which the governors mentioned, and I needed to be on the same page with the Secretary of the NJC (the National Judicial Council), who is representing the judges at our other meetings.

“So that is why I am here. I have met with some heads of courts and we have discussed.

“We are meeting with the Judiciary workers soon, on Thursday. With the Secretary of the NJC, we are going for another meeting now with other members of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Executive Order 10 and the autonomy of the Judiciary and Legislature.

“So, we will fine-tune some of the things we got here. We will crystalise them all and also meet with the governors tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.

On whether there was the likelihood of an early end to the strike, the minister said: “I am very optimistic that by next week, we will put an end to this.”

Senior Special Assistant (on Media) to the CJN, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, in a statement he issued after the meeting, said Ngige met with Justice Muhammad and others to brief them on what was being done to resolve the issues raised by the striking workers.

The statement reads: “Upon being briefed by the minister on the negotiation level so far, the CJN then requested the JUSUN to call off the strike in the interest of the nation and the larger interest of justice.

“The CJN added that it would also allow the opportunity for further negations towards the resolution of the dispute.

“Besides, the CJN observed that some of the issues in contention are already sub judice, as such, there is a need to give the required legal process enough opportunity to be exhausted.”

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