Lawyers groan as Osun State court closure enters two months


Lawyers groan as Osun State court closure enters two months

Lawyers in Osun State have called for an amicable resolution of the logjam involving the leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria and the government for courts in the state to reopen.


The Osun JUSUN, through its erstwhile chairman, Gbenga Eludire, had on November 22, 2023, declared an indefinite strike, leading to the paralysis of judicial activities in the state since then.


Eludire directed the Osun court workers to proceed on strike after policemen teargassed JUSUN members, who had begun a protest and picketed the state high court in Osogbo, from physically assaulting the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Adepele Ojo, whom they accused of abuse of office and high-handedness.

But a memo dated December 27, 2023, with reference number: JUSUN/NHQ/SUB: 27/ Vol. 1/165, signed by M. J. Akwashiki, for the General Secretary of the national leadership of JUSUN, addressed to Eludire, obtained on Thursday, contained the decision to dissolve the Osun JUSUN Executive Committee led by Eludire.

The memo also ordered the suspension of the strike.


While the Eludire-led executives have since resigned their positions for the three-man Caretaker Committee led by Mr Rasaq Lawal, courts have remained closed due to the industrial action, as the directive of the national body had not been obeyed.


Speaking with The FIRST CLASS GISTS on the situation, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Osogbo Branch, Mr Yemi Abiona, expressed the displeasure of the legal practitioners in the state to the closure of courts occasioned by the industrial action.

Abiona said the Osun NBA leadership recently met with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwole Jimi-Bada, and discussed the issues with him.

He said, “We are not happy because we never envisaged that the industrial action will last up till now. We are doing everything possible to make sure that the government meets up with the demands at least a substantial part for JUSUN to call off the strike as soon as possible.


“We are also making the government see reasons why they should support the caretaker committee set up by the JUSUN national body and the caretaker committee has, in line with its mandate, to call off the strike action.

We don’t know why the government is not that comfortable working with the caretaker committee that was mandated to suspend the strike action. We have made the government realise all this and they promised to work on it. We are still engaging and by God’s grace, we hope that the court will be opened soonest.”


Also commenting, an Osogbo-based lawyer, Mr. Bola Ige, said whatever issue caused the disagreement between the executive and judiciary that led to the strike should be resolved.

He further said, “The strike is already affecting a lot of things. A lot of people in the prison awaiting trial do not know their fate, a lot of cases are pending in court and they ought to be determined one way or the other. I am not happy as a person and I am imploring the two arms of government to resolve their differences so that the court can continue to function the way it ought to function.”


When contacted for reaction, the Osun State Commissioner for Information and Public Engagement, Mr. Kolapo Alimi, exonerated Governor Ademola Adeleke of any involvement in the industrial action.

Alimi, who said issues that caused the strike were being addressed, insisted that “the judiciary is an independent arm of government that administers its own resources. The government is working hard to resolve the issues, but we should not forget that the crises that led to the strike involved the Chief Judge and the JUSUN leadership in the state. We can only meditate and we are doing that.”


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