A Human Rights Advocacy Group, Hope Behind Bars Africa, and other fifty coalitions of civil society organizations on detention and correction have urged the federal government to immediately make provision for virtual court sittings for inmates affected by the closure of court.
The group’s demand comes sixty days after judiciary workers embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike, demanding among others, financial autonomy. JUSUN embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike on April 6, 2021, demanding financial autonomy and the ability to decide freely on its internal financial affairs.
The group is also demanding that the government prioritize the opening of the courts, bearing in mind the current state of the nation
The Group in a statement by the Executive Director of Hope behind bars Africa, Funke Adeoye, appealed to the Leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, to review its approach and choose an effective way to resolve the issue to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.
“While the autonomy of judiciary is sacrosanct, the continuous closure of the courts with no end in sight inhibits the justice that is being sought,” the group members said, signing simultaneously.
The coalition, however, urged State Governors to align to reason and implement financial autonomy for the judiciary, describing financial autonomy as the lifeblood for democracy.
“This continuous violation must not be allowed to continue”, the group added.
Furthermore, they demanded that a comprehensive approach to fast track the court on all cases immediately the strike is called off, and “prosecutors to sit on a day-to-day basis in all custodial centers especially those with very high number of awaiting trial persons/non – convicted inmates.”
“Effective utilization of bail and non-custodial sanctions by the courts to help reduce the burden on the custodial centers.
“Engagement of several critical stakeholders to enhance access to justice for those in custody towards the provision of comprehensive and speedy trial to the affected inmates including the legal aid council of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, Civil Society Organizations including members organizations of the National Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Forum on Corrections and Detention,” the group said.