A cross section of lawyers in Ekiti has decried the long “stay out of court” due to the strike embarked upon by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). The lawyers said the strike had caused pending cases in various courts in the state.
The lawyers spoke at different interviews with correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti. One of the lawyers, Mrs. Kehinde Omogbemigun, said that the JUSUN strike has affected her pending cases at the Customary Court in Ado-Ekiti.
She cited a dissolution of marriage pending before the court since 2020, but already slated for judgment, which the strike has affected. Omogbemigun urged the judiciary and the state government to sheath their swords and embrace peace in the interest of the litigants.
Another lawyer, Mr. Michael Ogunsakin, said he was frustrated by the daily calls from family of his clients, currently being remanded at the correctional Centre for a minor offence. He said that the court had granted them bail, which they were unable to perfect and this landed them in the correctional Centre before the judiciary embarked on strike.
Ogunsakin further said that the matter has been settled between the nominal complainant, but as a result of the strike, the correctional service officers could not produce the accused. He appealed to the Federal and state governments to look into the judicial staff agitation, saying financial autonomy is a simple request which was long overdue.
Mr Temitayo Amao, another lawyer, urged both the Federal and state governments to dialogue on the issue before it gets out of hand.
He decried the effects of the strike on the litigants, Courts and the economy of the country. He noted that the litigants are experiencing the worst challenge in this period, saying criminal matters had delayed the freedom of some persons in the Correctional Centres.
He added that on the issue of civil matter at the High court, “gone are the days when people say judiciary is the last hope of the common man.”
On the other hand, a traditional Chief, Mr Gbenga Ogunrinde, said the strike has affected the issue of his family land dispute pending before the court, which he said was already slated for judgment, but affected by the strike.
He said violence has erupted among the family members since the case was taken to court, which had claimed lives and some were hospitalized.
Ogunrinde said that the family are patiently waiting for the verdict of the case before they know the next step to take. He urged the state government to grant the judiciary autonomy, in order for courts to resume its normal activities and also to curb criminal act in the society.
Another traditional Chief, Mr Kayode Agunbiade, said the strike has affected the community, saying reports of criminal acts have been rampant in the community.
He said that those people that committed offences that are not bailable in the police station should be charged to court to face the wrath of the law, but lamented that the strike has affected them. (NAN)