Activities at various courts in Enugu State were grounded last Monday, following an industrial action by the state branch of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
A correspondent who monitored the strike, reports that members of staff, lawyers, litigants and awaiting trial inmates were locked out of court premises.
At the State High Court in Enugu, lawyers and litigants who came from all parts of the state and beyond were seen in clusters outside the court premises discussing.
It was same situation at the magistrates and customary courts in the state capital.
A staff of the state judiciary who would not want to be identified, said the strike was due to months of arrears of allowances owed them.
The staff said that, the leadership of the union had made efforts to resolve the impasse with the state government.
Mr Ndukwe Ogbuja, an Enugu-based lawyer, told journalists that the situation was pathetic as there was no warning on the strike.
Ogbuja, said the situation would deny stakeholders their rights and justice, noting that, “we came this morning with litigants and were locked out by JUSUN.
“Even the prisoners and awaiting trial inmates that came here have been denied access to justice.
“But we have to place the two on the balance of justice to say the workers have to be listened to and their grievances be treated so that they can grant the justices that will be required.”
Mr Obiora Iloghalu, a lawyer, said many litigants were surprised that the gates were locked, adding that, “this is unfair.
“We are standing around here hopelessly with our clients. Everybody is standing, nobody knows the next line of action.
“In the same token, I am pleading with authorities that are supposed to listen to the workers to do something.”
Mr Miletus Eze, the Attorney-General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, described the action as an “embarrassment” to the state government.
Eze, refuted claims that the state government owed allowances to JUSUN members, adding that government did not deny them any allowances when they went on strike in 2015.
He said, “I just received the information less than 30 minutes ago that the courts are locked and government is embarrassed because in the first instance there is no labour dispute in the state with JUSUN.
“The issue is that the body of chief judges in Nigeria recommended a salary structure for JUSUN. That is not even a collective agreement.
“In spite of the fact that we are not bound by that recommendation, we started dialoguing with JUSUN leadership.”
He explained that, the state government had shown commitment in enhancing the salary of judicial workers and had even raised a committee to discuss with JUSUN.
The commissioner added that the joint committee set up by government to agree on salary review for JUSUN had yet to submit the recommendation to the state government.
He said that the action of JUSUN was uncalled for and ill-advised, noting that
the union had no right to issue ultimatum since the recommendation by the body of chief judges was not a collective bargain.
“There is a court order restraining them from going on strike in respect of that salary structure recommended by the body of chief judges of the states.
“It is a violation of the order of the National Industrial Court for them to proceed on strike in respect of that salary structure,” Eze said.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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