The police in Lagos say they have devised means to decongest their cells amidst the prolonged strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
The police spokesperson in the state, Muyiwa Adejobi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that the decongestion was carried out in collaboration with the office of the Chief Judge and Attorney-General of the state.
NAN reports that JUSUN, on April 6, directed its members to shut down all courts across the country, demanding the implementation of the law granting financial autonomy to the Judiciary.
“The command had been managing the situation in collaboration with the office of the state chief judge,” Mr Adejobi said.
He, however, did not give the number of suspects that had been granted bail.
“We work with the office of the CJ and Attorney-General of Lagos State to decongest our cells.
“The CJ has provided the services of some Magistrates and District Prosecutors to assess case files and grant bail to some suspects.
“So, we are collaborating with them in this regard,’’ Mr Adejobi said.
NAN reports that a verdict of the Federal High Court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, had in January 2014 held that financial autonomy for the judiciary is a constitutional provision that must be complied with by the executive branch of government.
NAN reports that on May 23, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the country.
The order also mandates the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state for states that refuse to grant such autonomy.
The Attorney General of the Federation Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.
According to the AGF: “A Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).”
Newsmen report that the Nigeria Governors Forum said it will start implementing financial autonomy for the judiciary latest by May ending, a pledge that indicated that an end to the ongoing strike that has crippled the nation’s judiciary may be in sight.
The governors also called on striking members of the JUSUN to call off their two weeks old strike then.
The Chairman of the NGF, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti,. gave this assurance in an interview with journalists after meeting with “stakeholders” from the state judiciary and legislature at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Mr Fayemi said the modalities for the implementation were worked out at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, representatives of the judiciary, Conference of Speakers and House of Representatives.
The first line charge status, which is being respected by the federal government in respect of the federal judiciary, entitles the state judiciaries to get funds due to them directly from the Federation Account.