The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Owerri Branch Barr. Lawrence Nwakaeti, has decried the losses Imo State is incurring as a result of the continued industrial action by the Imo State Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union (JUSUN) which closed down activities in Imo State Judiciary.
Barr Nwakaeti made this remark in a recent chat with some journalists in Owerri.
Among other things, the NBA boss said that not only that Imo State is losing a lot of revenue as a result of the strike but that the strike is also encouraging lawlessness and anarchy in the state.
‘The strike is on the emoluments of judiciary workers. However, it has its own attendant evil. Since the courts are not sitting, people whose rights are trampled upon cannot get remedy from the state courts.
Those in police custody have remained in custody against the provision of the law as the police have no option than to do so since the courts are not open to arraign detainees. Those who are detained in prison custody who could have regained their freedom during this period of strike are now meant to stay longer in custody. Also, some government actions that can be challenged in court may be defeated by the law on protection of public officers which provides that certain court actions should be instituted not longer than a particular period.
Further, the longevity of the industrial action make cases to be unnecessarily delayed as justice delayed is justice denied. Those who have the need for other activities offered by the state judiciary like probate matters etc…’, he decried.
On the way forward, the outspoken lawyer berated the state government for reneging from the agreement that he said would have rested the matter.
‘Government brought its own proposed terms for the payment of emoluments to judiciary staff. It took NBA and other stakeholders in the judiciary to entreat JUSUN to accept the conditions. After accepting them, it is regrettable and highly unfortunate that government representatives have since then refused to sign and implement the same proposal. That is why the courts are still closed till today….’.
He therefore enjoined the state government to save the state from the embarrassment caused by the strike by implementing the said agreement.