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Judges,SANs,Nyeson Wike Others gathered as Chief Ogwu James Onoja SAN unveiled his new book.

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Chief Ogwu Onoja SAN today unveiled the long awaited Book : Fundamental Rights (Enforcement
Procedure) Rules, 2009

At the unveiling, hold at the Bar and Bench event Centre, Chief Ogwu Onoja SAN Road, Wuye Abuja,

The activity commended by 10 a.

m.,have the Executive Govenor of Rivers state, Governor Nyeson Wike represented by The Attorney General of Rivers State

According to the Book reviewer, the two books explore the subject matter of Rules of law, Fundamental Rights and its various learnings, a subject that has
bedevilled Nigeria and the root cause of constitutional conflicts in the country, attempting to shed light on its former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen said Democracy is doom without strict adherence to the Rules of Law, also on the roll call are also some respected Judges which include

  1. Hon justice hussein Yusuf FCT High Court
  2. Charles omakieno
  3. Stephen jona adah court of appeal
    4.
    Engl J. O Mauoju
  4. Hon justice J.J Tsho
  5. Hon justice W.S.N. Oneghen.
  6. Hon Justice Ekwo
  7. Hon Justice Maha
    Among the respected silk present are :

  8. Bar Dayo Akpata SAN

  9. Prof Z. Ada Go. SAN
  10. Prof O.I Amucheaz SAN
  11. Tunde Babalola SAN
  12. Chief Kanu Agabi SAN
  13. Chief Godwin Obk SAN
  14. Sir Steve Ada SAN
  15. Chief Chris Uche SAN
  16. Patrick Okolo SAN
  17. Funmi Oudari SAN
    11.J. U. K Igwe SAN
  18. Adegboyega Awomolo SAN .

  19. Abdulahi Haruna SAN

The Unedited Speech of the author, Chief Ogwu Onoja SAN

I am exceedingly happy and full of immense gratitude to God for making this day a reality. The book: Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009 ‘Practice, Procedure, Forms and Precedents’ is a project I conceived in 2009, the very year it was enacted by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship, Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON (of blessed memory) pursuant to his powers under the provision of Section 46 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). All these years, I had in my possession, and had cause to continuously review, the manuscript that birthed this book. The book being unveiled today is nothing but “a miracle” child conceived and birthed in crisis of covid-19 pandemic and my health challenges of 2020. The unveiling of this book today is nothing more than a testimony to the fact that God indeed is the Master of all things and will see to their accomplishments at His own time and place.

Fundamental rights are the sets of rights that have been recognized by the
laws and constitutions of nations. These rights are deemed sacrosanct and
are associated with a high degree of protection against the invasive tactics of
agents of states and individuals. Part IV (sections 33-44) of the Constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly stated these
inviolable rights. These rights which are enforceable by the courts pursuant
to their judicial powers under section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution, ordinarily
will be mere wishes of the legislators, if there were no mechanism for their
enforcement by the courts. The enactment of the FREP Rules, 2009 by the
Chief Justice of Nigeria, (a clear improvement over the abrogated 1979 FREP
Rules), became necessary to provide a simplified format for enforcing the
rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

One of the overriding objectives of FREP Rules, 2009 is to simplify the process of human rights enforcement before our Courts and to address the issues of urgency and the required speed in ameliorating rights violations. The book being unveiled today, has laid bare the provisions of the FREP Rules, 2009

analysing same, order by order, and chapter by chapter supported by case
laws in deserving situations. This publication therefore, is to create
awareness and advance the cause of fundamental rights proceedings in our
courts. It generously serves as a useful compass to Judges and Justices of our
Superior Courts and lawyers who are every day actors in fundamental rights cases.

The book is divided into two indispensable volumes as a reader will not get
satisfaction from reading a volume of the book without going through the
other. For ease of appreciation, some selected unreported decisions of
judges of the various High Courts have been provided in the book to aid
lawyers, researchers and litigants in fundamental rights proceedings. This is
to showcase some of the brave decisions of Judges of the Federal and State
High Courts and National Industrial Court as Courts of first instance in FREP
litigations.

This book, with all modesty, is a continuation of our legal dissertation of the
various Rules of Courts in Nigeria. It is a humble attempt at exposing the study
and analysis of the provisions of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement
Procedure) Rules, 2009 as an indispensable piece of legislation for legal
practitioners, judges, public litigation interest groups, the academia and
researchers with interest in the practice and procedure applicable under the
fundamental rights enforcement.

May I express my deepest appreciation to my noble lords present here today
starting with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Dr. Ibrahim
Tanko Muhammad, CFR, who spared his time to write the foreword to this
book, and the former Chief Justice of Nigeria. Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON who came with his wife to attend this gathering. My appreciation to the Justices of the Supreme Court, President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Monica Dongban Mensem and other Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of Federal High Court,

Honourable Justice John Tsoho, President of the National Industrial Court,
Honourable Justice B. B. Kanyip and the Chief Judge of FCT High Court,
Honourable Justice Salisu Garba other justices, my learned brother silks, my
colleagues in the outer bar, our amiable book reviewer, members of the
editorial board, staff of O. J. Onoja, SAN & Associates, Bar and Bench
Publishers, friends and well wishers, those who have joined us on various
platforms and the general public for making this occasion memorable. You
have all made this huge sacrifice out of your tight schedules and it is my prayer
that God rewards you accordingly.

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Judiciary

JUSUN to call off strike after reconcilatory meeting with NBA

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN), has reportedly accepted the proposals made by governors in their quest for a resolution of the industrial crisis caused by the clamour by judicial workers for the implementation of financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government.

Reports gathered that the Union accepted the proposal during a meeting between its leaders and the representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, which held on Tuesday in Abuja.

Consequently, according to the source, the Union has agreed to call off the strike subject to few clarifications and guarantee from the governors.

According to the NBA 1st Vice President, Mr John Aikpokpo-Martins, “The purpose of the working meeting was to mutually consider the new proposals from the Governors with a view of harmonising views and having common grounds on the issues at stake.

“The meeting accepted the proposals of the Governors in principle subject however too few clarifications and expected guarantees from the Federal Government for the strike to be called off. The said clarifications are necessary to arrive at a final agreement to be signed by all stakeholders.

“JUSUN has agreed to call off the strike immediately the clarifications sought are made, the expected guarantees given by the Federal Government and a final agreement for the implementation of Section 121(3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is signed,” he said.

He explained further that JUSUN will make a statement on this position soon and hopefully, the strike action may be called off in days.

He added, “We therefore positively look forward to the all conciliatory/mediatory meeting earlier slated for today to be rescheduled by the Minister of Labour.”

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Judiciary

Why Are Governors Afraid of Judicial Autonomy?

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If the offices of the governors are a creation of the Constitution, why are those who occupy them continue to violate the provisions of the same law in respect to financial autonomy for the judiciary? Asks Davidson Iriekpen

For another week last Friday, courts across the country remained closed after the meeting between the umbrella body of judiciary workers in Nigeria, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and representatives of the federal government ended with no concrete solutions.

The meeting was postponed again to this week.

The workers have been on strike since April 6 to press home their demands for a complete financial autonomy for the judiciary.

At the meeting to end the lingering crisis last Thursday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, reiterated that the federal government had no problem with the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciary. He said the appropriate laws for judiciary autonomy have been signed into law and that implementation lies with state governments and governors.

JUSUN had on April 1, 2021, directed its members across the country to shut down all courts on April 6, a directive that has since crippled both court proceedings and commercial activities within the court premises across the country.

This was immediately followed by a nationwide peaceful protest in furtherance of their demand for the 36 states to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary. Its reason for the indefinite strike and protest is to press home the demand for financial autonomy for the country’s judicial arm of government.

For decades, despite constitutional provisions guaranteeing financial autonomy to the judiciary, state governments have found increasingly innovative and pernicious ways of subjugating and emasculating the judiciary. While many would understand why this was so under the military rule, the same cannot be said under a democracy.

Years of financial strangulation, and a brazen subversion of the constitution, have driven the judiciary to impotence, incapacitation and impoverishment.

Incidentally, with the exception of governors, who now find themselves prevaricating over unambiguous constitutional provisions, no Nigerian is opposed to JUSUN or their strike. So far, the industrial action has been tremendously effective, totally grounding the country’s groggy justice system, and is more effective than any the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ever organised in the past two decades.

The attendant consequences of the strike have left non-litigants, who are largely business people, reeling from the courts closure. Court users and non-litigants, alike, have been venting their anger and frustrations as life becomes more difficult with the nationwide shutdown of the entire third arm of government entering its fifth week today.

To many Nigerians, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary is one major way with which the judiciary can be truly independent. They posit that if the country’s democracy was a true constitutional democracy, the issue of granting financial independence to the judiciary should not have arisen.

According to a public affairs commentator, Festus Ogun, “subjecting the judiciary to the shadow of the executive through financial dependence is to make nonsense of the independence of the judiciary and compromise the course of justice. The only way judicial independence can materialise is to bestow on it financial willpower.”

While the federal government feels that it has since complied with the relevant sections of the constitution, which grants financial autonomy to the judiciary, and the various judgments regarding complete autonomy for the judiciary, the state governors have refused to follow suit.

President of the union, Comrade Mustapha Marwan, who spoke with journalists in Abuja recently, said the state chief executive officers have frustrated financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government. He added that this situation has left magistrate and customary courts across the country in a sorry state, with dilapidated court buildings not suitable for court sittings.

By law, the independence of the judiciary is not only guaranteed, its financial autonomy remains the pillar upon which indirect control and manipulation is resisted. Sections 121 and 81 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provide succinctly for the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

Section 121(3) explicitly provides that, “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the court concerned”. If the Constitution is very clear on an issue, it begs the question why the Governors have chosen to take the path of executive recklessness.

Incidentally, the sacred provisions of the Constitution in respect to financial autonomy of the judiciary have been given judicial blessing by the courts. In cases separately filed by JUSUN and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN against the federal government, the court upheld the financial independence of the judiciary as a constitutional stipulation that cannot be waived or varied by the executive. This, still did not change anything.

But last year, sensing that the state governors were not willing to comply with neither the constitutional provisions nor the court judgments, President Muhammadu Buhari issued Executive Order 10 of 2020 to compel the states to obey the constitution, the governors coaxed the president to tarry a little on gazetting the order, thus stymieing the immediate implementation of the order.

While it is not clear why that anomalous stricture of gazettes had to be introduced, nor why it is needed especially, in clear constitutional cases, the governors seized upon that hiatus to go to court to litigate and forestall the Executive Order, as if the order was the issue, and not their violation of the constitution. The case is pending before the Supreme Court.

What the governors have issues with is perhaps the concomitant amendment in the same Section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution, which also gives the states legislature financial autonomy. State governors have since seen the autonomies granted the judiciary and legislature as a complete castration of their powers and imperial persons.

For decades they had subjugated the other two arms of government. They fear that if the other arms no longer had to make recourse to the executives for their financial needs, they would look the governors in the eyes and check their excesses with great daring and gusto. The governors may have reservations about judicial financial autonomy, but what ails them more is the freedom which that financial autonomy would give the state lawmakers, freedoms that might conceivably include impeaching any lawless governor.

To many, the refusal to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary by the governors speaks volume of the level of unconstitutionality, lawlessness and impunity the country deals with. Therefore, they believe that the state chief executives cannot cherry-pick what aspect of the constitution to obey,neither can they set a particular time to obey the constitution.

To put it straight, Ogun said, “The Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state, established under Section 120 of the Constitution, is not a personal property of the executive. It belongs to the executive, legislature and judiciary. So, keeping what rightfully belongs to other arms of government is an abuse. The offices of the governors are a creation of the law and those who occupy them cannot continue to whimsically act as though they are above the law.”

Knowing the recalcitrant position of the governors had taken all along on this issue, many observers are anxiously waiting to see how the dispute would be resolved.

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JUSUN urges Buhari invoke Executive Order 10, deduct Judiciary allocation

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, has urged President Muhammadu to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Accountant General to deduct monies standing to the credit of the judiciary.

The Deputy President of JUSUN, Emmanuel Abioye, told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview in Abuja.

We call on the President to invoke his powers under Executive Order 10, by advising the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct at source, all funds due to State Judiciaries, and to pay same directly to the Heads of Courts in States that have refused to comply with the Executive Order 10, as constitutional directives are non-negotiable,” he said.

NAN reports that the union had, on May 5, vowed that the industrial action embarked upon to demand financial autonomy for state judiciaries would not be called off until the governors complied with the constitutional provisions.

JUSUN had begun a nationwide strike on Tuesday, April 6, when the union directed all its members across the federation to shut down all courts after the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum earlier given over the failure of the government to implement the law.

However on May 6, after a conciliation meeting between the government negotiating team with JUSUN and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, PASAN, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, expressed optimism that the workers’ union would soon call off the strike.

They had fixed another meeting for Tuesday, May 11, for the unions to consult with their various National Executive Committees on the government proposal to their members.

My call to the Federal Government in this instance is that directive should be given to the public officer who is meant to carry out that assignment.

“And who is the person? It is the Accountant General of the Federation maybe through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

“In all these, we don’t even need the consent of the governors before the needful is done,” he said.

The union leader, who stated that Sections 121(3), 81(3) and 162(9) of the constitution clearly stipulated the autonomy of the judiciary and legislature, said it was disappointing that since Jan. 13, 2014, when the union got the Federal High Court judgment in its favour, the law was yet to be implemented.

 

What is needed is that the Accountant General of the Federation in conjunction with the directive of the AGF whatever ought to have deducted the money from the source,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on May 22, 2020, signed into law an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the federation.

The Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 made it mandatory for all states to include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

The order also mandates the accountant general of the federation to deduct from source amount due to the state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state, for states that refuse to grant such autonom

NAN

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