Governors are proposing the establishment of state Assembly Service Commission and Judicial Service Commission as conditions for granting the financial autonomy to the judiciary and legislature.

There are National Assembly Service Commission and Federal Judicial Service Commission at the federal level.

The role of the commission is in the area of appointment, promotion and discipline of the judicial staffers, so as to ensure that there is an effective and efficient system in order to ensure fair and proper administration of justice to the people.

The governors are also proposing the creation of Accounts Allocation Committee in the states as obtainable in the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee at the federal level.

These formed part of the conditions listed for presentation to the striking judiciary and parliamentary workers at the meeting of the governors held under the banner of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) at the presidential villa Wednesday night.

The governors were expected to have met the striking Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) Thursday (yesterday).

The two unions are on strike over the refusal of governors to implement t financial autonomy for judiciary and the legislature in the states.

PASAN embarked on strike on March 22 while JUSUN began on April 6.

The strikes began after series of ultimatum issued by the unions to the governors for compliance with the Executive Order 10 signed by the President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2020 directing the governors to begin the implementation of the financial autonomy law.

One of the governors at the meeting told our correspondent that the state helmsmen were willing to grant the autonomy but are handicapped by the monetary requirement.

“We are the one who saw to the success of granting the financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary because we backed passage of the bill at the state assemblies.

“We could have killed it at that level but because some of us have been lawmakers in the past we know what it means to strengthen the institutions.”

Another governor told our correspondent that they were not happy about the manner the Federal Government enacted the Executive Order 10 to impose the implementation of the financial autonomy law on them.

“It is the activity of the federal government that is pitting the workers against us but we remain focus,” the governor added.

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has appealed to the striking unions to call off the industrial action.

Tambuwal, who is the NGF Vice Chairman, made the appeal while answering questions from State House Correspondents after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, in Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

Tambuwal had led members of the Technical Committee on the implementation of the autonomy of State Legislature and the Judiciary to the meeting.

He said, “We have just finished talking to the speakers, and indeed the state 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.

They should call off the strike. We are appealing to them in the interest of this country, they should call off the strike.”

Tambuwal said the technical committee raised on the matter had made reasonable progress on the implementation of financial autonomy to state judiciary and legislature, adding that the committee would meet again on Monday after receiving the final report of the committee.

“We are here with the chairman and leadership of the Speakers Conference, the Solicitor General of the Federation, and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Mr President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, who has been a member of the technical committee on the implementation of the autonomy of state legislature 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 for state legislature and 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 are there”, he said.

Asked about the position of the governors on the demands of the judicial workers, Governor Tambuwal said “from the very beginning, during the 8th Assembly, under the leadership of Seanator Bukola Saraki and Speaker (Yakubu) Dogara, the Governors Forum under Abdulaziz Yari then, met with them and supported the financial autonomy for the state legislature and the judiciary.

“That is why with that support, we were able to achieve the passage of this amendment by the National Assembly and the state legislature across the country. So the governors are unequivocally in support of the autonomy of these institutions.

“I can assure you that all of us are committed to building institutions, particularly our parliaments and the judiciary, in our respective states.

“As governors, democratically elected, we will do whatever it takes to make sure that whatever issues there are, are resolved.

As I told you before, some of it are constitutional and then matters that have to do with the constitution, you have to be sure of what you’re doing; that you’re actually following the Constitution”, he said.

On why President Muhammadu Buhari had to set up the implementation committee when the governors were not opposed to the financial autonomy for legislature and judiciary, the governor said he was not in any position to query the wisdom of the President on the matter.








By Kamarudeen Ogundele,
Daily Times

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