Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam, welcomed judiciary staff back to duty on Monday as they resumed after eight months of industrial action over demands for the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.
Itam, who addressed the workers and leaders of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) at the High Court Complex in Calabar, the capital, charged the executive arm of government to live up to the bargain and content of the agreement with the union.
“The MoU signed is like an IoU and I believe the executive will live up to the bargain because we do not want the union to call their members to action again on the basics of a failed agreement,” the CJ said.
Chairman of JUSUN, Comrade Asanya Ebong, who handed over a copy of the MoU reached with the state governor as head of the executive arm, noted that in January 2014, a Federal High court in Abuja had given judgment granting financial autonomy to the judiciary as a matter of constitutional provision but the judgment was not implemented at the federal and state levels until 2015 when on January 2, JUSUN embarked on strike.
The federal government according to him, got to implement up to 95 per cent of the judgment and the strike was called off at the federal level.
“We have had several negotiations with the previous administration of former Governor Liyel Imoke and the Governor Ben Ayade, which led to a committee that drafted an MoU as at July 21, but it was not assented to until September 10, 2015 in the presence of Governor Ayade and the representative of the national body JUSUN at the governor’s office,” Ebong said.
He urged the workers to resume work and put in their best at their duty posts because they have succeeded to extract a commitment from the state governor on the actualisation and implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary.