Court:Abakaliki residents urge early resolution in govt, JUSUN faceoff in Ebonyi-By Reginald Okoro

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Gov. Dave Umahi

Some residents of Abakaliki in Ebonyi have called for quick resolution in the ongoing faceoff between the state government and the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), to ensure industrial peace and harmony.

The residents made the appeal in separate interviews with the Summit News on Thursday in Abakaliki.

According to them, early resolution of the industrial impasse will enable litigants whose cases are pending at various courts across the state access justice.

The respondents who urged parties to the dispute to tow the path of negotiation said that it was better to ‘jaw jaw’ than to ‘war war’ insisting that the ongoing dispute was better resolved at the ’round’ table.

Mr Uchenna Onwe, who decried the strike action said that the industrial dispute which has entered second week has crippled matters pending in the various law courts.

He urged the leadership of the union and the state government to parley to end the current indefinite strike action.

“My younger brother whose case was supposed to come up Wednesday, Aug 19 could not hold due to the ongoing strike.

“He is an awaiting trial inmate at Abakaliki Correctional Centre; the court was to rule on bail application pending before it but this strike has affected the whole thing.

“Justice delayed is justice denied; awaiting trial inmates as well as their relatives are not finding the situation funny.

“I am therefore appealing to government and the judiciary workers to shift grounds to allow early settlement of the dispute,” Onwe said.

Mr Emma Elom, a lawyer said that the strike could have been averted if government had heeded to the series of appeals made by JUSUN to government to honour agreement reached with the union on the implementation of the new judiciary salary structure.

“I want to appeal to the JUSUN members to place public interest above every other consideration and call off the strike.

“The union should explore further avenues to engage the government in negotiation with a view to finding amicable and lasting solution to the faceoff.

“They and government should consider the plight litigants whose cases are dragging because of the labour dispute and work to call off the strike so that courts can resume sitting,” Elom said.

Another resident, Mr John Eze urged Gov. Dave Umahi to rise above sentiments and address the workers concerns to enhance speedy resolution of the dispute.

“I think that judiciary workers are making legitimate demand and we should call a spade a spade by urging state government to rise above petty sentiments and address the workers demands.

“I heard it on good authority that the issue which resulted to this crisis has been on for some years now and JUSUN has been on government to meet its demand to no avail.

“If other states have implemented the new salary structure and other issues affecting judiciary workers in these states, there is no justification for anyone refusing to do same for Ebonyi judiciary workers,” Eze said.

Meanwhile, a top official of the union who spoke to our Correspondent on condition of anonymity said that the body has resolved not to call off the strike until its demands were met.

He said that the union has given state government enough grace to address the demand adding that government in stead of government addressing their grievances reported to blackmail.

The Judiciary Workers on Thursday, Aug 13 embarked on an indefinite strike to drive home their demand for improved welfare packages.

The strike was to compel the state government to implement the Consolidated Judiciary Salary Structure (CJSS), a demand which they have been making since 2015.

The workers embarked on the indefinite strike action following in-action of government after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued three weeks ago.

Mr Lawal Mustapha, National president of the JUSUN represented by the Vice President South-East zone at a meeting in Abakaliki mandated the workers to withdraw their services until government met its demand.

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