The National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting in Abuja, on Friday, reviewed and increased the salaries of Nigeria’s judicial officers.
The court, in a landmark judgement delivered by Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osagie, said that the salaries of judges and justices have stagnated for over 14 years.
The judge said that despite the increased workload on judicial officers, they have continued to suffer in penury owing to their “extremely low salaries and allowances”, which he described as “very embarrassing”.
Justice Obaseki-Osagie said, “There is no doubt that from evidence adduced before this court that salaries payable to judges as well as their conditions of service, has been greatly altered to their disadvantage.
“Judicial officers are daily impoverished by the devaluation of the Naira.
“They have suffered financial hardship and embarrassment owing to their poor pay. It is a shame to the country.
“In spite of this, our judges have continued to carry out their statutory duties. Justices are themselves victims of a great injustice. What an irony.”
“Judges in Nigeria have the right to have their salaries reviewed upwards periodically,” Justice Obaseki-Osagie said, adding that the NIC, being the court that determines labour and employment-related matters, has the constitutional power to compel FG, through its agencies, to upwardly review the remuneration of judicial officers.
Consequently, the court, made an order, increasing the salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to N10 million, while that of justices of the Supreme Court and President of the Court of Appeal was increased to N9 million.
Likewise, the court increased the salaries of Court of Appeal Justices, Chief Judges, President of the Industrial Court, Grand Khadis and President of Customary Courts to N8 million, even as it ordered FG to forthwith, pay N7 million to other judges, monthly.
The court directed that the order should be served on the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN.
It also awarded N1.5 million cost against RMAFC, the AGF and the National Assembly, who were all cited as defendants in the matter.
The ruling came following a suit instituted by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr Sebastian Hon.