Court Orders Increase In Judges Salaries, Says Pay “Embarrassingly Too Low”
An industrial high court in Abuja has ordered the upward review of judges’ salaries. The court noted that the current salary structure of the Justices, Judges, Grand Khadis, etc in Nigeria is “embarrassingly too low” in view of the present harsh economic realities.
Sebastian Hon, the senior advocate of Nigeria, filed a suit before the labor court to request that the pay of Nigerian judges be raised.
The national assembly and the National Judicial Council had tried unsuccessfully to settle the dispute out of court.
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) were joined as the defendant.
Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to the claimant, in his final address submitted that the salaries and allowances of judicial officers remain unchanged since 2008.
Delivering judgment on Friday, Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae said salaries of judges and justices have stagnated for over 14 years. She held that despite the increased workload on judicial officers, they have continued to suffer in penury owing to their “extremely low salaries and allowances”, which the court described as “very embarrassing”.
“There is no doubt that from evidence adduced before this court that salaries payable to judges as well as their conditions of service, has been greatly altered to their disadvantage,” she held.
“Judicial officers are daily impoverished by the devaluation of the naira. “They have suffered financial hardship and embarrassment owing to their poor pay. It is a shame to the country.
“In spite of this, our judges have continued to carry out their statutory duties. “Justices are themselves victims of a great injustice. What an irony.”
Consequently, she ordered the federal government to commence a monthly payment of N10 million to the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) while that of the president of the court of appeal was raised to N9 million.
Court of appeal justices, chief judges, president of the industrial court, grand khadis, and president of customary courts are now to earn N8 million while other judges’ salary was raised to N7 million.
The court directed that the order should be served on the RMAFC and the AGF.
The judge also awarded N1.5 million fine against RMAFC, the AGF, and the national assembly.
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