Funke Busari, Lagos
On Monday, members and officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch complied with the Directive of the National Body to stage protest against the refusal of the State Governors to ensure financial autonomy for the Judiciary.
The President of the NBA Olumide Akpata had earlier directed all state branches to stage a protest march today to support full implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary
The protest was a follow up to the ongoing strike embark upon by members of the Judiciary Staff Union, JUSUN who have been on strike for two weeks demanding for full financial autonomy and independence for the judiciary.
The Ikeja Branch of the association, led by the Chairman, Bartholomew Aguegbodo took off from Ikeja Bar Centre and matched through Oba Akinjobi way, Oba Akran Avenue into Obafemi Awolowo Way and marched to Alausa secretariat to present their letter of demand to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
However the gate of Alausa Secretariat, the gate was shut against them by security agents who barricaded the road and prevented them from accessing the Governor’s office.
After about one-hour heated arguments between the NBA Ikeja leadership and three different Directors from the governor’s office came at different time to convince the Ikeja NBA to hand over its letter to them for the attention of the governor.
But the lawyers stood their ground that they will only deliver the letter of the Bar to the Governor directly or an officer in his office.
The lawyers were later prevailed upon to send their representatives to go into the government house to drop the letter.
A four-man team, including the Chairman, Aguegbodo, two former chairmen, Monday Ubani and Adesina Ogunlana and Chibuzor Agwocha, was later allowed to proceed inside to deliver their letter of demands for financial autonomy for the judiciary in the state.
Shortly after the meeting, Agugbodo told journalists that the letter stating their demands was received and acknowledged by one Deji, the officer in-charge of administrative mails in the governor’s office.
The NBA Ikeja chairman described their protest to the governor’s office as “a re-sounding success”.
Agugbodo disagreed with the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba who on Thursday said the judiciary in the state enjoys financial autonomy.
He contended that what obtains in Lagos state is partial compliance with the provisions of the constitution.
According to him, “Financial autonomy is a sine qua non for a true democracy and that is why we are protesting”, he said.