14th September, 2021
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has revealed the poor salaries of judicial officers in the country.
She made the startling revelation while speaking at the opening of the 2021/22 legal year.
She said the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who is the head of the judiciary in Nigeria, as at today takes home N279, 497 as monthly salary, an equivalent of $680.
Other justices on the Supreme Court bench go home with the sum of N206,425 or $502.
She said as President of the Court of Appeal, she receives the sum of N206,425 or $502.
Other justices on the bench of the Court of Appeal, go home with N166,285 or $404 every month.
Dongban-Mensem said the salaries, minus allowances, of judicial officers have stagnated for over 10 years.
She pleaded with the federal government for an immediate upward review of the salaries.
She said the salary structure for judicial officers and staff in Nigeria have consistently ranked poorly when compared to that of their counterparts in other African and Commonwealth countries.
Justice Dongban-Mensem said the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was in 2008, when the upward review was made to take effect on February 1, 2007.
She therefore called on the federal and state governments to live up to their obligations under the implementation of financial autonomy of state legislature and the state judiciary order, 2020, known as Executive Order 10.
“I implore the government of the federation and states to urgently review the salaries and allowances of judicial officers and staff.
“The salaries of justices are static with no graduation as in the civil and public service.
“We have been on one salary grade for over 10 years now.
“May I also call on the government to increase financial allocations that will enable us to introduce technical innovations that would improve adjudication”, she said.
A random check showed that judges in South Africa earn between R1.8million for a high court judge to R 2.8million for the chief justice.
In dollars, the South African judges earn between $127,000 to $196,000 a year.
In Kenya, the entry salary of a Supreme Court judge is Sh792,000($7206) minus allowances, with a ceiling of Sh1,218,535($11,087).
The entry salary of Court of Appeal judges is Sh689,224($6,271) without allowances. The salary is capped at Sh1,122,759($10,216).
A High Court judge’s entry package is Sh657,426 ($5,982) and is capped at Sh907,279($8,255).
The attorney-general of the federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, appealed to the appellate court justices to maintain the sanctity and credibility of the court.
He also appealed to them to ensure that the sacred integrity reposed in them remain un-shaking at all times to foster and promote public confidence in all their judgements.
He assured that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, will review the welfare of judicial officers generally to ensure greater efficiency.