The chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Shobowale Kehinde, said on Thursday that the ongoing nationwide judiciary workers’ strike is still in force in the state.
Members of JUSUN have been on an indefinite nationwide strike since April 6 to press for financial freedom of the judiciary from the executive.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr Kehinde announced in a statement on Wednesday that members of the Lagos State chapter of the union would be working three days in the week in partial suspension of the strike.
Mr Kehinde had praised the Lagos State government for taking steps to meet his members’ “auxiliary demands” and said members of the chapter would be working three days in a week, as a mark of respect and honour for “Mr Governor and the Chief Judge of Lagos State”.
But in a departure from the said statement on Thursday, Mr Kehinde told PREMIUM TIMES that the idea of a partial suspension was a Lagos State government’s proposal that was subject to approval of the national body of JUSUN.
‘Strike still on in Lagos’
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Mr Kehinde said, “The strike is still ongoing in Lagos. I do not have such power to declare a partial suspension of the strike.”
He added, “It is a proposal, and it has to be ratified and approved by the national body. It has been proposed, so it is the national body that will approve or disapprove. That is why I did not mention any date of commencement in my statement.
“When the government sends me to my national leaders, I will deliver the government’s message, and when my national leaders send me to the government, I will deliver my national leaders’ message.
“That is who I am in Lagos. I am the state chairman of the union. I am between the national leadership and the state government.
“So I deliver messages. That is what the state government wants, and I delivered it to my fellow comrades in Lagos and at the same time sent it to them at the national level for approval. So that is why you saw that I did not put a date for commencement.”
When asked if he had informed the national leadership of the union of the “proposal”, Mr Kehinde said he always briefed the national body “on the daily occurrences in Lagos”.
He also gave an indication suggesting that the national body of the union had rejected the plan for a partial suspension of the strike.
“Well since they did not send me to you, but I know they have given me the answers and as you can see our courts are still closed. And my workers are still at home,” he said.
Asked if he would comply with national leadership’s conclusion on the directive, Mr Kehinde said, “On their mandate I stand.”
National officer speaks
Meanwhile, the National Treasurer of the union, Jimoh Musa, who rushed to Lagos Thursday morning to address what was emerging as a crack in the union’s fold, told PREMIUM TIMES that “the strike is being complied with in the state”.
“They gave a proposal about partial suspension of the strike. They are asking for the national body’s approval. But I can tell you, I am still in Lagos as I am talking to you. I have met with the leaders of the union in the state, and I can tell you that all the courts remain shut,” he said.
Asked if the national leadership of the union had taken a position on the said Lagos chapter’s proposal, Mr Jimoh said, “It will be deliberated on may be next week.”