Access to Justice has called for an end to strike action by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over fears that it is presenting an open ticket for human rights violations.
The Lagos based human rights organisation, expressed concerns over the negative impact the three-week long strike has had on those who require services of the justice system.
In a statement jointly signed by its Convener, Joseph Otteh and Project Director, Deji Ajare, the group recognised the need for JUSUN’s strike action, stressing that financial dependence threatens the efficiency of the Judiciary, and makes the arm of government an appendage of the Executive.
It, however, noted that the strike action has resulted to rights violations, overcrowded cells and public health risks.
Access to Justice stressed that as an organisation that works to ensure the preservation and protection of human rights, it fears that this situation presents an open ticket for human rights violations.
It said: “there are reports from across the country that Police cells and Custodial Centres are overcrowded, because those who have been detained since the start of the strike action cannot get bail as courts remain closed.
“This is a violation of their rights as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
“As Nigeria and the World continue to battle the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worrying that detention centres are holding more detainees than they were designed to hold, making them fertile grounds for the transmission of COVID-19.”
While commending the pledge by the Governors’ Forum to begin the implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary by May, 2021, A2Justice pledged to closely monitor this promise to ensure its fulfillment.
It therefore called on JUSUN to show good faith by calling off the strike action.