Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says it will ensure implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary by May.
NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, South-West Nigeria made this known on Monday, after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the Statehouse.
The meeting also had the federal lawmakers, representatives of the judiciary and legislative staff in attendance.
The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN) has been on a nationwide strike since April 6, 2021, agitating for the implementation of the judiciary autonomy.
In May 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed an order to that effect but the gazetting of the order was suspended after the president met with governors — triggering reports that the governors were frustrating the move.
Fayemi maintained that the governors never objected to the full autonomy of state assemblies and judiciary, adding that “the issue is about implementation.”
The NGF Chairman said, “There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies. As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support in the first instance, in the state assemblies.”
“But we don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for implementation. Thankfully, the meeting we have just emerged from, with the chief of staff to the president chairing, has worked out the modalities to the satisfaction of all parties.
“As soon as the final document that is being cleaned up emerges, that is preparatory to implementation. We’re not going to put a timeframe in the air, but it will be implemented as soon as possible, definitely no later than the end of May 2021.”
While urging striking judiciary and legislative workers to return to work, Fayemi said, “as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned.”
“I think we are basically at a position where, whether you speak to the conference of speakers’ chairperson or you speak to me or you speak to the representative of the judiciary or you speak to the solicitor-general of the federation, you will hear that we’re speaking with one voice on the implementation.
”And no later than May, you will start seeing the implementation of the agreement that we’ve reached.”
Meanwhile the senate earlier on Monday, said the autonomy for state assemblies and judiciary is non-negotiable and that no one stands to lose anything with such in place.