The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has appealed to the Federal Government to conduct an upward review of the salaries of judicial officers in the country.
Justice Dongban-Mensem, while speaking at the maiden edition of the Court of Appeal Legal Year and Justices Retreat in Abuja on Monday, revealed that salaries of judicial officers had been stagnant for the past 10 years.
According to her, the Chief Justice of Nigeria earns a net pay of N279,497 monthly, while other justices on the Supreme Court bench earn N206,425 monthly.
Speaking further, she said, “As President of Court of Appeal, I receive N206,425, while other justices on the bench of the Court of Appeal go home with N166,285 every month.”
Justice Dongban-Mensem said it was disheartening that the salary structure for judicial officers and staff in Nigeria had consistently ranked poorly when compared to that of their counterparts in other African and Commonwealth countries, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
She recalled that the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed was in 2008 and 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, known as Executive Order 10.
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She said, “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.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, (SAN), assured the appellate court justices that the Federal Government was working to review the welfare of judicial officers generally to ensure greater efficiency.
He said, “I am happy to inform you that the Federal Government is once more revisiting the issue of the welfare of the judicial system generally. Very soon, the committee report, which is being accorded attention by the President, will certainly come to pass, and the welfare of the judiciary will, in effect, be enhanced accordingly for greater efficiency of the system.”