Members of the House of Representatives have called for an upward review of the remuneration of judicial officers in line with present economic realities.
This was sequel to a motion on the need to review remunerations of Judicial Officers and increase the Statutory Transfer to the nation’s Judiciary’, sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke.
According to him, 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 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, while 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.
While noting that the salary of judicial officers was last reviewed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission in 2007 when the official exchange rate was N124 to $1 and the minimum wage was N5,000, the lawmaker argued that the salary of judicial officers have become totally at variance with current economic realities.
Mr Luke, expressed concern 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 and could present misfortune for democracy as the Judicial Officers may not maintain impartiality and independence in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Adopting the motion, 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 House also mandated its Committee on Judiciary to work towards an amendment of the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holder (Salary and Allowances, etc.) Act, by removing the remunerations of judicial officers from that of political and public office holders as well as ensure compliance with the aforementioned resolutions and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.
Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing bt Tina Oyinsan