High Court to hear JUSUN suit Jan. 2013

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From JUSTINA ASISHANA – Minna
A Federal High Court in Minna has slated 30th January, 2013 for the hearing of the suit for judicial financial autonomy filed by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) against the 36 state governors, Minister of Justice and National Judicial Council (NJC).
The Presiding judge, J ustice Anwuri Chickwere also ordered the 36 state governors, Minister of Justice and National Judicial Council (NJC) to file their responses before the date of the suit.
When the case was mentioned yesterday,  only 11 states had filed their memorandum of appearance with two other states challenging the locus of JUSUN to institute the suit.
JUSUN had earlier filed a affidavit in October, asking for the interpretation, declaration and enforcement of provisions of Sections 81 (3) 121 (3) and 162 (9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The 28 paragraphed affidavit signed by the National President of the Union, Malam Marwan Mustapha Adamu prayed the court to determine ‘’whether having regard to the provisions of Sections 81(3), 121(3) and 162(9) of the constitution that the funds/amount standing to the credit of the Judiciary in the Federation Account/Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation/states shall not be paid directly to the heads of Courts concerned.’’
It also demanded that the court to declare, ‘’whether credit of the Judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund of the States ought to be paid to the Judiciary in piecemeal through the States’ Ministry of Finance as and when the Governors so desire or at their whims and caprices.’’
The two states that challenged the locus of the union and the competence of the court at entertaining the suit were Gombe and Kwara states.
Meanwhile, Nasarrawa state government has filed a counter affidavit claiming that it has complied with the constitutional provision and that the state has been remitting the dues of the judiciary to the appropriate authority.
However, the counsel to the applicant, Philips Olusola stated that Nasarrawa state was yet to comply fully with the letters of the constitution.
While the counsel to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Mrs. Nebolisa Celina told the court that they are waiting for advice from the office of Accountant General of the federation on the financial autonomous status of States judiciary, the Counsels to the 11 states defendant respondent prayed for more time.
The trial judge then directed other states who are yet to file their response to do so before next adjourned date stating that the court may be forced to commence trial, if they failed to comply.
She therefore adjourned the case till January 30 and 31, 2013 for proper mentioning.

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