Court orders salary increase for CJN and Nigerian judges
The National Labor Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Abuja on Friday ordered a substantial increase in the salaries of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and other Nigerian judges.
Trial Judge Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae issued the order in her judgment, saying “the judges have been victims of a great injustice” and calling their low salaries a “national disgrace”.
She delivered the judgment in a complaint filed by a senior Nigerian lawyer, Sebastine Hon, seeking an upward review of the emoluments and salaries of the country’s judges.
The salaries of Nigerian judges have stagnated since 2008, when they were last reviewed.
Among other things, Mr Hon sought in his lawsuit an order requiring the National Assembly, the Federation Attorney General and the Revenue Mobilization and Taxation Commission (RMAFC) to increase the salaries and allowances of the nation’s judges. .
“It is unconstitutional and unlawful for the RMAFC to refuse to review judges’ salaries,” the judge, Ms Obaseki-Osaghae, said before answering all of the plaintiff’s prayers in her judgment on Friday.
She ordered that “judgment be immediately served on the 2nd defendant (AGF)”, criticizing Justice Minister Abubakar Malami for arguing that judges have no legal right to have their salaries increased.
The court ordered the RMAFC to immediately increase the salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to 10 million naira per month from the current 3.4 million naira per year, which would be far below what his counterparts in other countries.
The judge also ordered the RMAFC to review the salaries of other Heads of Courts and their judges ranging from N9 to N7 million per month.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Hon had filed a lawsuit seeking an order from the National Labor Court of Nigeria (NICN) compelling the defendants – the AGF, the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Assembly and the RMAFC – to increase wages and allowances. judges in the country.
The claimant noted that the highest paid judicial officer in the country – the Chief Justice of Nigeria, currently earns about 3.4 million naira per year, well below what such an officer earns in other countries .
He urged the court to order the defendants to increase the salaries and allowances of the country’s judges.
Mr. Hon said that as a jurist, “who has practiced at all levels of courts in Nigeria, I know that the low remuneration of magistrates seriously affects the quality of judgments and decisions that these magistrates render and the exercise other functions associated with their offices.
He argued that the current economic reality of the country demands that the salaries and allowances of the country’s judges be urgently improved.
Mr Hon, who quoted what all judicial officers currently earn under Part IIB of the Schedule to the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Act 2008 (Amendment) Act 2008 etc.), said the paltry sums had discouraged him from aspiring to become a judge.
He pointed out that it has been around 14 years since judges’ salaries and allowances were last revised upwards in 2008, despite the naira losing value against other global currencies such as the dollar. American, the pound sterling and the European dollar. Union Euro (EU), etc.
“In November 2008, when the amended law was in force, the exchange rate between the naira and the US dollar was N117.74 to 1 USD.
“The naira has lost its value significantly over time; but bailiffs in Nigeria have been placed on the same salary scale up to 12 years, i.e. since 2008,” he said.
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