MOTTO: DIALOGUE, NOT VIOLENCE

4th March, 2024

PRESS RELEASE:

CRISIS IN OSUN JUDICIARY: WE ARE VINDICATED – MURIC  

 

An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has waded into the crisis in the Osun State judiciary where courts have been shut and workers gone on strike since November 2023. MURIC said it is vindicated in its 2022 allegations against the state’s Chief Justice.

 

The assertion was made in a press statement issued on Monday, 4th March, 2024 by the Executive Director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

 

The statement reads :

 

“The Osun state judiciary has remained shut for more than three months following an industrial dispute declared by the state’s branch of the Judiciary Workers Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). The courts have been under lock and key since 22nd November, 2023.

 

“Among the issues in contention are the high handedness of Hon Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo who was sworn in on 17th June, 2013 as the 6th Chief Judge of the state. She was accused of unilaterally, arbitrarily and whimsically suspending five workers of the judiciary without reference to the Judicial Service Commission of Osun.

 

“All five workers reportedly appeared in court and were discharged and acquitted. Three others who faced a panel set up by the Chief Justice herself were allegedly exonerated by the panel. Yet they could not spend one kobo from their salaries as they had to return same to the finance department.

 

“Asides these, wardrobe allowances are denied judges in the state. The judiciary library has not been functioning despite the humongous sum of N12 million remitted every month for the operation. There is no promotion, everyone is stagnated. The e-affidavit which costs N1,000 each was given out to a private consultant who remits only N250.00 to the state coffers while nobody knows where the remaining N750.00 goes.

 

“We are accustomed to seeing the judiciary being neglected by other arms of government. But this is a horse of another colour. The attack on Osun judiciary is from the inside, nay, from the very top. It is undeniable self-immolation. It is the height of high handedness and the apex of disrespect for the rule of law.

 

“But it was the chief Justice’s anti-Islamic sentiment that first caught our attention two years ago. It will be recalled that MURIC berated her as a religiously biased judicial leader about two years ago (https://guardian.ng/news/stop-victimising-muslim-judges-muric-tells-osun-chief-judge/; https://iwitness.com.ng/stop-victimising-muslim-judges-muric-tells-osun-cj/).

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“In a statement dated 16th October, 2022, MURIC accused the CJ of victimizing Muslim members of the judiciary in the state. She was reported to have personally and physically stopped a mosque development project. She arranges trips and events for honourable judges without regard for Islamic festivals and rituals.

 

“Qualified Muslim lawyers are allegedly denied appointment to bench vacancies. This religious angle led judiciary workers to accuse her of religious divisiveness among judges and staff.

 

“MURIC has now been vindicated. The ongoing crisis in the state which is orchestrated by the attitude of the Chief Justice has proved us right. The hoi polloi have no hope if the judiciary is not fair to themselves. How then can we expect them to be fair to the ordinary man in the street. Confidence in Osun judiciary can only be restored when Chief Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo climbs down from her high horse.

 

#OsunJudiciary

#OsunCJRespectRuleofLaw

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

 

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