Minimum Wage Strike Paralyzes Abuja Courts 

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

Activities in various courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were completely paralyzed as the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) joined in the indefinite nationwide strike called by the leadership of the organized labour.

Following a breakdown of negotiations on the new minimum wage between the federal, state governments and other employers and the labour unions, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had directed all its members and affiliates to embark on an indefinite strike to protest the seemingly uncaring attitude of governments to the plight of the Nigerian workers.

President Bola Tinubu had, on assumption of office last May, announced the removal of oil subsidy, as well as the floating of the naira, amongst other policies which had brought excruciating pains upon Nigerians.

Responding, the organized labour had proposed a minimum wage bill of over N600,000 to mitigate the hardship occasioned by the policies of the Tinubu administration.

After their meetings last week, while labour brought down its demand to N494,000, the Federal Government could only shift its initial offering of N45,000 to N60,000, thereby leading to a walkout of labour from the negotiation table.

Besides, the leadership of the NLC and TUC issued a directive to all their members to get ready for down tool from Monday, June 3, 2024.

In total compliance with the directive, judicial workers in Abuja, on Monday did not hesitate in bringing all courts under lock and key, thereby preventing judges, lawyers, staff and litigants from accessing courts in the FCT.

A visit to the FCT High Court, Maitama; Federal High Court (FHC); Court of Appeal; and the Supreme Court, showed that court activities were totally paralysed as JUSUN members positioned themselves outside the heavily locked gates.

At the Federal High Court, Abuja, private security guards and few police officers were seen around the entrance of the court, just as lawyers, litigants, visitors, including journalists were not allowed entry into the court’s premises.

The Chairman of the FHC Chapter of JUSUN, 

Comrade Samuel Ikpatt, told journalists that the union was in total compliance with the directive of the NLC that workers should down tool beginning from Monday.

“We are the affiliate of NLC. So we are in total compliance with the strike action, including all our divisions,” he said.

According to him, no court is sitting.

When asked if lawyers are being allowed to gain access into the courtrooms, he said: “There is nobody inside the courts because we are in total compliance with the directive.”

On when the gate would be opened, Ikpatt said: “Until when we get directive from our parent body, which is the NLC.”

Also speaking, Comrade Mohammed Danjuma-Yusuf, who is the Treasurer of JUSUN Chapter of Court of Appeal, told journalists that they were complying with the NLC’s directive.

“So Court of Appeal is in total shutdown; 100 per cent compliance. All the 20 branches of Court of Appeal is in total shutdown.

“Nobody is allowed in, even judges,” he said.

Danjuma-Yusuf said the gate would be opened when the union received a directive from the national headquarters of NLC.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria was also not spared by striking workers who locked the gates against everyone, including litigants, lawyers and justices of the apex court.

Barring any contrary directive from the leadership of the NLC and TUC, the strike continues Tuesday.

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