…We converted our cars to cab business, say lawyers
Courts in Enugu State Tuesday resumed sessions after a nearly three-month strike action by the judiciary staff under the auspices of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN),
Our correspondent, who visited the Enugu State Judiciary Headquarters complex at Independence Layout, Enugu, observed an unusual crowd of people at the registries and at the Affidavit Office, where a long queue of persons were seen waiting to get one documents or another.
Most judges were seen in the court premises as their chambers and courtrooms were being cleaned.
They were later seen issuing hearing notices so that everybody would be aware of their dates before matters were called up again in the courts.
Most workers were seen carrying files from place to place while lawyers were seen taking new dates for their cases.
Speaking with our correspondent, a lawyer, Barr. Ifeanyi Egbo who was in the court to take hearing notice, lamented that for the past 10 weeks, the courts have been under locks and keys.
Egbo said litigants had been worst hit because “you know justice delayed is justice denied. Within the 10 weeks of strike, those accused persons held in various Correctional Centres could have regained their freedom if not this strike
“Some others with ongoing trial would have seen their trials concluded with them knowing their fates.”
It was learnt that most young lawyers who concentrated on litigation were worst hit by the strike.
Some of the lawyers, who spoke our correspondent in confidence, said they converted their vehicles to commercial cabs while others said they took up menial jobs to fend for themselves.
One of them said, “For some of us lawyers especially those of us who specialize in litigations, it has been a very difficult 10 weeks for us. For me, I had to get involved in farming it was not very easy, but I was able to sustain myself with my farm.
“Some of my colleagues also converted their vehicles to cab operations with others taking up lots of menial jobs in order to sustain themselves and familie.“We are happy that the courts have resumed. We hope by tomorrow or next the judges will start sitting properly.”
The national vice president southeast and chairman of Enugu State, JUSUN, Comrade Chinedu Mba lamented that the strike action had to affect the common masses, but said the workers were only demanding their legitimate entitlements.
“When two elephants are fighting, it is the grass that suffers. If you go to the police stations and Correctional Centers, you see the results of the strike. The cells and prisons have been congested with suspects.
“Thank God we have called off the strike. I can tell you that our workers are ready to work. They’re only demanding their entitlements.”
Mba added, “Judges came to work today but, you know, they had to re-fix dates for cases. Most of the dates have elapsed.
“They’re issuing hearing notices so that everybody will be aware before matters are called up again in the courts.”
He assured that the long queues witnessed in some offices would fizzle out in a matter of days, adding that before the end of the week, everything will come to normal.