THE Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has appealed to the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to call off its over a week nationwide strike following a meeting between the union’s leadership and representatives of the NGF, the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly and Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Thursday.
Speaking with State House reporters at the end of the meeting which held at Prof Gambari’s office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who is also the Deputy Chair of the NGF, appealed to JUSUN to call off its strike in the interest of the nation.
The meeting followed the postponement of a meeting scheduled to be held between JUSUN leadership, NGF and Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment earlier on Thursday but was suspended.
Governor Tambuwal, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported, had told reporters that the governors met with the speakers and the Chief Judges of various states, and would continue to engage the leadership of JUSUN over the strike as no concrete commitments were reached between the parties at the meeting. He however assured that a lot of progress had been made in the negotiations and hopes that the matter would be put to rest by next week.
“We’ve just finished talking to the Speakers, and indeed the State Chief Judges, and the Judiciary, to continue to engage and the Minister of Labour is also engaging with the striking bodies to appeal to them, to appreciate the fact that we have made progress. We’re appealing to them in the interest of this country; they should call off the strike,” stated Tambuwal.
He further added: “We’re here with the chairman and leadership of the Speakers’ Conference. The Solicitor General of the Federation, and SSA to Mr President on Niger Delta, who has been a member of the Technical Committee on the implementation of the autonomy of state legislatures and the judiciary.
“Together with the Chief of Staff to the President, we have just finished a meeting on how to put finishing touches and dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s, on the final implementation of the financial autonomy of the state legislatures and the judiciary.
“We have made reasonable progress and we have agreed, after receiving the final report of the technical committee, to meet on Monday, because of the urgency of the matter and finally, resolve whatever issues that are there.”
While expressing the commitment of those in leadership positions to build viable institutions for the country, the governor stated: “Well, I can assure you that all of us are committed to building institutions, particularly our parliaments and the judiciary in our respective states, as democratically elected governors, and we are doing whatever it takes to make sure that the issues are resolved.
“As I told you before, some of the issues are constitutional and when matters have to do with the constitution, you have to be sure of what you’re doing that you’re actually following the Constitution.”
Contrary to the record of opposition of the governors to the autonomy of state legislature and judiciary, as well as the local government system in the country, Governor Tambuwal said the NGF had supported the autonomy of state legislature and judiciary especially during the 8th National Assembly.
“From the very beginning, during the 8th Assembly, under the leadership of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Dogara, the NGF under Abdulaziz Yari then, met with them and supported the financial autonomy for the state legislatures and the judiciary.
“And that is why with that support, we were able to achieve the passage of this amendment by the National Assembly and the state legislatures across the country. So, the governors are unequivocally in support of the autonomy of these institutions.”