Following a circular issued on April 1, judiciary workers Tuesday morning shut down the Supreme Court in Abuja, Nigeria. The court’s premises is within the precincts of the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly Complex.
Their objective for starting an indefinite nationwide strike is to press for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government.
The strike began after a last-minute appeal by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to the workers to shelve the industrial action fell on deaf ears.
Workers say the appeal is ill-timed considering the COVID-19 constraints the Nigerian courts have been battling with in the last year.
The gate of the Supreme court remained unopened at 8am, leaving workers who planned to resume duties after the Easter break stranded.
Members of staff from the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) have been equally affected.
Workers of the NJC and the FJSC are part of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the umbrella body of all judiciary workers at all levels in the West African nation, and are also bound by the industrial action declared by the union.
Staff of the Federal High Court in Lagos, and Kaduna were also ejected from court premises in enforcement of the nationwide strike by members of JUSUN.
The action taken by the union at the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning may be replicated across all Nigerian courts.
In a related development, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has ordered medics at COVID-19 isolation centres to join the ongoing nationwide strike, or face a N5 million fine.
The directive was circulated to members in an internal memo by the National Executive Council of the association.