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Buhari Orders Immediate Implementation of Enhanced Pay for Judicial Officers

The Nigerian president says it will boost the independence of the judiciary.

Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate implementation of the enhanced salary and welfare scheme for judicial officers nationwide.

This was announced on Friday at the official handover ceremony of the Nabo Graham-Douglas campus of the Nigerian Law School, Port Harcourt, to the Council of Legal Education.

Recall that an Industrial Court in Abuja had on July 15, ordered an upward review of judges’ salaries.

Represented at the hand-over of the campus by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, the President said he had directed the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMAFC) and the AGF to promptly commence implementation of the enhanced salary and welfare scheme for judicial officers.

The Judiciary, according to the president, remains a foundation of strength and stability for the country’s democracy.
He added that other measures would be put in place to ensure the independence of the Judiciary.

Buhari described the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, built, furnished and handed over by the Wike’s administration as a grand wonder, structured to be self-sustaining.

The President said: “I need not engage in poetic verbosity to properly describe the grand wonder that is being commissioned today. The icing on the cake is the fact that this edifice and its state-of-the-art facilities are structured to be self-sustaining through associated revenue earners.”

President Buhari said he was aware that Governor Nyesom Wike extended development initiatives to the neighbouring Bayelsa State, by executing multi-billion-naira projects that included a 900-bed space hostel and 1,500-capacity auditorium, in the Yenagoa Campus of the Nigerian Law School.

This is in addition to the provision of critical infrastructure support extended to federal courts in Rivers State, over the years, he noted.
“These are indeed pace-setting and unparalleled contributions by a State Government to what is ordinarily under the remit of the Federal Government.

“Governor Wike’s dedication to these projects is better appreciated from the viewpoint of his being an unrelenting advocate of true federalism in Nigeria.”

The President commended Wike, on behalf of the entire Justice family and lovers of Justice in Nigeria for his unifying efforts and commitment to national harmony.

President Buhari reiterated that the ceremony served as an avenue for them to be reminded of the need to promote cooperation and understanding between the federal and state governments in the overall national interest and the welfare of all Nigerians.

The Industrial Court’s Judgement

On July 15, an Industrial Court in Abuja ordered an upward review of judges’ salaries.
The presiding judge, Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae said the salaries of judges and justices had remained stagnant for years.
She held that despite the increased workload of judicial officers, they have continued to suffer in penury owing to their “extremely low salaries and allowances,” which the court described as “very embarrassing”.

Consequently, she ordered the federal government to commence a monthly payment of N10 million as salary to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), while that of the President of the Court of Appeal was raised to N9 million.

According to the judge, monthly pay for Supreme Court justices should be N9 million; Court of Appeal justices, chief judges, President of the Industrial Court, grand khadis, and president of customary courts are to earn N8 million, while the salary of other judges was raised to N7 million.

The court also directed that the order should be served on the RMAFC and the AGF.

Blessing Ibunge