The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Kogi chapter has dragged the state governor, Yahaya Bello, the Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah and seven others before the National Industrial Court sitting in Lokoja.
The union’s action is predicated on alleged constitutional breach of non-remittance of funds accruing to the state Judiciary leading to accumulated salary arrears of eight months and strike action.
JUSUN in the originating summons filed on Tuesday at the court by its Counsel, Chief Moses Enwere, said it took legal action as a last resort.
It alleged that the State Government did not make any concrete effort towards resolving the impasse that necessitated its strike action which started December, last year.
Other defendants in the matter include the Attorney-General of the state, the Commissioner for Finance, the Accountant-General, the Auditor-General, the Grand Kadi, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal and the state’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The union is asking the court to determine among others whether Kogi State Judiciary is not entitled, as of right, amounts standing to its credit in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state and payable to the heads of courts in line with section 231(3) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and section 5 of the Kogi State Public Finance (Judiciary Special Provisions) Law No 6 of 1991.
It prays the court to determine whether the governor and his appointees joined in the case have the power or right to withhold judiciary’s funds and thereby failing in the payment of monthly salaries, allowances and emoluments of judiciary staff.
The union also wants the court to determine whether the Executive arm can place such conditions as staff screening, staff data capturing, table payment or any other condition as a prerequisite for the release of the funds without respect for the doctrine of separation of powers as envisaged by the constitution and the Kogi State Public Finance Law.
The union wants the court to declare that subject to the provisions of the constitution and laws of Kogi State, amounts standing to the credit of Kogi State Judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state be paid directly to the heads of courts in the state.
It also wants the court to declare that the Executive lacks the power to withhold judiciary’s funds and the executive’s continued refusal to pay such funds due to the judiciary as unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vire, wrong, null and void and of no effect.
It asked for an order of the court to direct the full payment of the accumulated eight months subvention owed the three courts and the Judicial Service Commission and a perpetual injunction restraining the governor and his agents from continuing to withhold amounts standing to the credit of Kogi State Judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Funds of the State.
The court is yet to give a date for commencement of hearing the matter.