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Protest rocks National Assembly over financial autonomy for judiciary

There was a protest over the non-implementation of the financial autonomy for the judiciary at the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

Members of the Parliamentary Workers Association of Nigeria, who held the protest, threatened to shut down all State Assemblies in the country if their demands are not met.

In a video clip, President of the Parliamentary Workers Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Usman,  said, “Enough is enough! When there is no legislation, there is no country. They want to deny the independence of the legislature, we will not allow that. If they continue to deny us financial autonomy, we will use everything in our arsenal to fight them.

“We are after the governors, we are after the implementation committee that the needful must be done.

“In the next six days, if the implementation is not done, we will shut down the whole 36 states assemblies including the National Assembly.”

During the protest, the placard-carrying parliamentary workers also submitted a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate on their demands.

In the letter signed by the National President, Comrade Mohammed Usman, and acting General Secretary, Comrade Ikechukwu, the workers’ association threatened to direct all its members nationwide to embark on an indefinite strike action if their demands are not met.

The letter read in part, “Recall that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill in June 2018 which among other things granted financial autonomy to all State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria and subsequently issued Executive Order 10 to ensure implementation.

“The Union considers these actions as great strides toward embedding democratic principle of separation of powers which in turn guarantees positive progressive, effective and efficient checks and balances especially at the state level where Executives have continually arm-twisted the Legislature into total submission thereby negating the essence of separation of powers in a democracy.

“It is therefore needful to see that for there to be a robust legislature at the state level, the implementation of the legislative financial autonomy is pertinent.

“It is in consideration of the foregoing that PASAN wishes to express her unreserved disgust and dismayed with the actions of some Nigerians and institutions particularly the Nigeria Governors Forum for aiming to not only discredit, but to exterminate this democratic prerequisite through frustrating its implementation.

“The Union has been magnanimous with the virtue of patience by allowing for ample time so that the Federal Government through His Excellency’s implementation committee on financial autonomy for state judiciary and legislature would ensure the implementation of the letters of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for over two years now.

“Our members have run out of patience and have resolved to forthwith put an end to condoning further delays to the implementation of the financial autonomy for states Houses of Assembly which in itself is a glaring breach of the Nigerian Constitution.

“As the Union’s motto reads, “Service for Democracy”, the union shall remain committed to serving the nation’s democracy. But the continuous non-implementation of Financial Autonomy at the state level is a huge obstacle before the wheel of democracy and the principle of separation of powers which in turn frustrates our devoted service.

“Consequent upon the foregoing, the union hereby demand for full implementation of the letters of our constitution as provided in section 121 (3) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Failure to meet the above demand, the union will have no other option than to direct all its members nationwide to embark on indefinite strike action. By implication, the nationwide strike action shall see the following institutions shut down.”

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