In a dramatic escalation of their ongoing dispute with the embattled Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Oyebola Ojo, judiciary workers have announced an indefinite strike, effective immediately. The announcement comes just days after the workers staged a protest at Justice Ojo’s office, accusing her of withholding their wardrobe allowances.
Tensions reached a boiling point on Wednesday when a confrontation between the protesting workers and the police unfolded at the High Court entrance in Oshogbo’s Oke-Fia area. The police, stationed at the entrance, reportedly fired tear gas at both the workers and journalists covering the event.
Gbenga Eludire, the Chairman of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in the state, declared the commencement of the indefinite strike, citing the Chief Judge’s alleged hostility towards the workers as the catalyst for their withdrawal of services.
Addressing journalists, Eludire stated, “Following the action of the police and the attitude of the Chief Judge, I, Comrade Gbenga Eludire, hereby ordered that workers in the sector should withdraw their service till further notice.”
In a separate statement released to the press, Eludire expanded on the reasons behind the strike, pointing to the need for an investigation into alleged corruption, abuse of office, and high-handedness within the Osun Judiciary under Chief Judge Ojo. The workers also seek the state government’s attention to address the prolonged suspension of some members and the diversion of their salaries for over 57 months. Additionally, they advocate for improvements in the overall facilities and welfare of the judiciary in Osun State.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the Chief Judge’s response to their demands, Eludire affirmed, “Since the Chief Judge doesn’t want to see our faces again as his lordship has failed to yield to our demands, coupled with the fact that the National Judicial Council is not doing anything, we hereby declare an indefinite strike action in the entire Osun State Judiciary pending when our demands will be met. We also call on the Commissioner of Police to investigate the head of the police team in the escort of the Chief Judge, who acted illegally by brutalizing our members.”