Reps make case for judicial workers

House of Representatives

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has urged the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review the remuneration of judicial officers in line with present economic realities.

The Resolution was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Luke Onofiok (PDP-Akwa Ibom) at the plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Onofiok recalled that the salary of judicial officers was last reviewed by the RMAFC in 2007 when the official exchange rate was N124 to a dollar and the minimum wage was N5,000,

According to him, considering inflationary pressure and other economic factors that have depreciated the value of the Naira by over 60 per cent, the salary of judicial officers have become totally at variance with current economic realities.

“13 years after the salary review of judicial officers, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is the most senior judicial officer in the country, earns N279, 497.00 monthly, the Justices of the Supreme Court and the President of the Court of Appeal earns N206,425 monthly.

“Justices of the Court of Appeal earns N206, 425 monthly.

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“Judges of the Federal High Court, National Industrial Court, FCT High Court, State High Courts, FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, FCT Customary Court of Appeal, Khadis of State Sharia Courts of Appeal and State Customary Courts of Appeal all earn N1.8 million each as their annual salary,’’ he said.

The lawmaker said that the budget for the judiciary has remained at N110 billion since 2017, while the total budget size has continued to grow, leading to gross underfunding and neglect of the Judiciary over the years.

Worried that poor remuneration of judicial officers is a serious threat to the judiciary, which is a critical institution of the state and starving them of funds compromises their foundational functions.

The house urged the Federal Government to, in line with judicial autonomy, accede to the increase in statutory transfer to the judiciary in the coming fiscal year.

The parliament resolved to work towards an amendment of the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holder (Salary and Allowances, Etc.) Act to remove the remunerations of judicial officers from that of political and public officeholders.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committee on Judiciary to ensure compliance and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.