JUSUN strike: Lawyers seek re-opening of court premises in Osun

Some lawyers in Osun have decried the protracted strike by judiciary workers, which has resulted in closure of courtrooms in the state since November 22, 2023.

The lawyers called for an end to the long strike and open the courts.

The lawyers, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Osogbo, called on the executives of the Judiciary Staff Union in the state to immediately suspend their strike in the interest of litigants and suspects in custody.

JUSUN in Osun had embarked on strike following allegations against Justice Adepele Ojo, the Chief Judge of the state, who was accused  of indiscriminate suspension of workers, failure to pay workers wardrobe allowances, among other complaints

Prof. Wasiu Oyedokun-Alli, a lawyer and Executive Director of the Osun Masterminds, said the internal politics of JUSUN was not the immediate concern, but the continued closure of the courts due to a strike action declared by the union.

”It is mindless and antithetical to the maintenance of law and order as well as speedy dispensation of justice in the State.

Oyedokun-Alli said his group had been clamouring for the reopening of court premises and would not hesitate to drag gladiators in the judicial battle in the state before a competent court in the land if the strike persists further.

”We advise that all concerned act now with utmost responsibility and respect for the oath they all swore.

”More importantly, there are innocent people awaiting trial who have been left to languish in prison because some people are using their lives to settle scores,” he said.

Also, Jimmy Jones, said that the continued closure of the court premises amounts to denial of speedy trials of some cases needing urgent attention.

Jones said that most police cells in the state were now overcrowded with many suspected criminals due to the strike embarked upon by JUSUN.

”We have many suspected criminals apprehended for several offences that are yet to appear in court due to the strike .

”Also, there are many innocent persons in prison custody who are awaiting trial and judgment of courts, but the continued closure of courtrooms is denying them justice,” Jones said

According to him, there is the need for all parties involved to sit down and settle issues surrounding the strike in the best interest of justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that Gov.  Ademola Adeleke had on November 16 , 2023 purportedly approved the suspension of  the Chief judge of the state, Justice Adepele Ojo, following recommendations of the state legislature.

A statement by  Olawale Rasheed, spokesman for Governor Adeleke, stated that the resolution passed was to give the lawmakers room to investigate the allegations against the Chief judge.

Rasheed stated that Adeleke also approved the appointment of Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the Acting Chief Judge of the state.

However, the swearing-in of Afolabi as acting CJ, did not hold as the Deputy Governor,  Kola Adewusi, scheduled to oversee the event, and Justice Afolabi, the Acting Chief Judge, did not show up at the venue of the exercise on November 17, 2023.

The NJC also did not give approval for the suspension of Justice Ojo and for her replacement by Justice Afolabi.

On November 19, 2023,  Adeleke reversed himself, and denied that he suspended Justice Ojo from office.

The News Agency of Nigeria also recalls that the national body of JUSUN had, in a circular signed by its Deputy President,  Emmanuel Abioye, directed its members against participating in any ‘illegal picketing, protest or job boycotting whatsoever.

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