The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, says he will accept whatever decision is taken by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the demand by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
Members of JUSUN have been on an indefinite strike across Nigeria since April 6 to enforce financial autonomy for the judiciary arm of government as granted by the Nigerian constitution.
Receiving the leaders of the Kano and Ungogo branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on a courtesy call to his office on Tuesday, Ganduje said he was awaiting the decision of the NGF on the matter.
“Whichever formula and procedure our forum, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, comes up with, I am ready to accept and work with it,” Ganduje was quoted in a statement issued by his media aide, Abba Anwar.
He praised the striking workers in his state for “the way you conducted yourself in pressing your demands. This shows you are learned.
“There is no doubt about the dire need for separation of powers, especially in the presidential system of government. In Kano, we are doing out best and we will continue doing that,” the governor said
The governor listed some of the things his government has done for the judiciary in the state.
“Amongst them were the establishment of the Court of Appeal on which we spent hundreds of million of naira and we also paid the rent for their staff accommodation for two years and furnished them very well. I am happy you mentioned some of those feats we achieved,” Ganduje said.
In his remarks, the Kano Branch Chair of NBA, Aminu Gadanya, commended the governor for his work in the judiciary sector.
He also thanked the governor for sponsoring members of the NBA to Conference of Magistrates Association of Nigeria and the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting of the NBA.
“We are aware of your efforts in renovating our courts. You did well in the appointment of Khadis and judges, all during your tenure.
“A Court of Appeal was also established under your administration. Before that, we used to take our cases to Kaduna. But with the establishment of another Court of Appeal here in Kano, we find it extremely important and timely,” Gadanya said to the governor.
Earlier on Thursday, the NGF said state governments will start implementing financial autonomy for the judiciary by the end of May.
The chair of the NGF, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, gave this assurance in an interview with journalists after meeting with ‘stakeholders’ from the state judiciary and legislature at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Addressing State House correspondents, Fayemi said the governors were not against financial autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary, “but had only been spending time on ensuring its full implementation.”
He 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 Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers and House of Representatives.
The governor said, “we are on all fours,” adding that “an agreement has been reached.”
He added, “First, the issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies. As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support, in the first instance, in the state assemblies.
Nigerian governors are largely seen as standing against the autonomy of the judiciary and the legislature at the state level.
They challenged the Executive Order issued in May 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari for the enforcement of the relevant constitutional provisions on the financial independence of the two arms of government.
The judiciary workers embarked on their strike on April 6, demanding the implementation of section 121(3) of the Nigerian constitution.
The section provides that funds meant for the judiciary be released to the heads of courts in various states directly from the consolidated revenue account.
A judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered in January 2014 had affirmed the constitutional provision, but the governors refused to comply.