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Court of Appeal president seeks better salary for justices

She said the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was from the Certain...

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, has called for a better welfare package for judicial officers in Nigeria.

Speaking Monday at a ceremony to mark the Legal Year 2021/2022 in Abuja, she said the salary structure for judicial officers and staff in Nigeria has consistently ranked poorly when compared to that of their counterparts in other African and Commonwealth countries.

While quoting a former president of the court, Justice Mustapha Akanbi (late), she noted that “a good judgment flows from a mind that is not bogged by the thought of where do I get my next meal or where do I get the money to pay my son’s school fees.”

She said the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was from the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008, which came into force on February 1, 2007.

“According to the Act, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria’s annual basic salary is N3,353,972.50 or N279,497.71 monthly, while other Justices of the Supreme Court and the President of the Court of Appeal earn N2,477,110.00 as basic annual salary or N206,425.83 monthly.

“My Brother Justices of the Court of Appeal earn an annual basic salary of N1,995,430.18 each or N166,285.84 monthly, exclusive of benefits and allowances,” she said.

She also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating the necessary political will for financial independence with the promulgation of “Executive Order 10.”

“I also implore the governments 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,” she added.

Also speaking, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), commended the efforts of the court in ensuring that justice is not trivialized to a common bargain and is in effect accessible to all and not a commodity bargained for and taken by the highest bidder, at the detriment of the indigent who for want of equal bargaining power, wallow in the shadows of judicial neglect.

“Uniformity, consistency and universality of judgement and rulings in the face of judicial precedent is an exceptional value of our judicial system that we must at all times strive to uphold as a way of upholding the sanctity of the judiciary in re-enacting the confidence of the common man in our judicial system,” he said.

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