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Judicial workers’ strike stalls Daniel Okereke’s rape trial

Yaba magistrate court under lock

The trial of Prince Daniel Okereke, brother of Nollywood’s Stephanie Linus, who allegedly raped a 22-year-old University of Lagos (UNILAG) undergraduate in November last year and was charged to court, has been stalled as the strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) rages on.

The trial hearing of the case was scheduled to start on Friday, January 9, 2015, but, until now, is yet to commence as courts across the state remain under lock since judicial workers downed tools on Monday, January 5, 2015.

Upon the directive of the union’s national executive committee, members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had commenced an indefinite nationwide strike.

The union said the non-compliance of state governments with the court order on financial autonomy for the judiciary necessitated the radical action which has crippled judiciary activities across the nation.

The court order cited was granted by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Abuja Federal High Court about a year ago (on January 13, 2014).

The 37-year-old suspect was dragged to court following investigation by the police after the victim, who is simply identified as Arinola, filed a complaint against him at Area F Police Station, Ikeja, Lagos. She claimed that Daniel had forcefully had sex with her after he lured her to his Mende, Maryland, Lagos apartment in November 2014.

The case was later transferred to the Panti Police Station, Yaba, Lagos, from where he was charged to court with the hearing fixed for January 9.

However, following the strike by judicial workers nationwide, who are demanding that federal and state governments hand off funding the arm, rather their funding should come directly from the budget. The hearing is yet to hold.

When ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the Yaba Magistrate Court, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, on Friday, January 23, 2015, there was no trace of judicial activities as the court was deserted and the gates locked.

A source squealed to us that the court has remained shut since the turn of the year. He added that judicial workers only come around to enforce the strike action, but the gates have remained locked.

-MICHAEL NWOKIKE

 

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