BusinessDay

Delta pleads for calm amid protests over non-implementation of judiciary’s financial autonomy

The Delta State government on Monday appealed to the protesting members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) in the state to be calm as all grey areas for full implementation of financial autonomy of the judiciary were being sorted.

The protesters had said they would not resume work until their demands were met by the government.

The NBA, JUSUN and PASAN were at the Government House Asaba on a peaceful protest where they were addressed by Peter Mrakpor, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, on behalf of the state government.

Mrakpor also told them that no effort would be spared in the full implementation of financial autonomy of the judiciary.

He told them that the bill for financial autonomy of the judiciary was passed into law in the state in March 2020 and that the state government had put the autonomy request in the first line charge in the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

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He, therefore, urged the protesters to remain peaceful and law-abiding in pressing home their demands.

Emmanuel Uti, chairman, Forum of Branch Chairmen of the NBA in Delta State, commended the efforts of JUSUN in the struggle for financial autonomy for the judiciary in Nigeria.

He maintained that NBA would not shift ground in its support for JUSUN and PASAN in the state.

Uti, who is also the NBA chairman in Warri, noted that members of the forum have observed that the state government had taken the initiative to enact legislation towards ensuring financial autonomy for the state judiciary.

According to him, the Delta State Judiciary Fund Management (Financial Autonomy) Law, 2019, had created the enabling environment and established the requisite structures to give effect to judicial autonomy in the state.

In their separate speeches, Austin Chiejine, the state chairman of JUSUN, and Oghenerhoboke Penn, representative of PASAN, said that they would not resume official duties in their respective offices until the financial autonomy was implemented in the state.

It would be recalled that JUSUN had on April 6, 2021, shut down all courts in the country, including the Supreme Court of Nigeria, to protest the alleged rejection by governors to conform to the constitutional provisions for financial autonomy of the judiciary.

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