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Monday, May 27, 2024

Senate passes bill to increase salary of CJN to N5.39m, justices N4.21m

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A bill that seeks to increase the salaries and allowances of judicial officers on Thursday, May 9, scaled second reading at the Senate.

 

The resolution of the Senate followed its consideration and debate on a bill titled: “A bill for an act to prescribe the salaries, allowances and fringe benefits of judicial office holders in Nigeria and for related matters (2024).”

The bill was sponsored by the deputy majority leader of the Senate Senator Ashiru Yisa (APC-Kwara South).

The House of Representatives on March 20 passed the bill which provides a monthly package of N5.39 million for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

The executive bill also provides a total package of N4.21 million for Justices of the Supreme Court, while the president of the Court of Appeal is to earn a total monthly package of N4. 48 million.

In addition, Justices of the Court of Appeal are to earn a total monthly package of N3.73 million, while the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, President of the National Industrial Court, Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Grand Khadi, FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, President of Customary Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of State High Court and Grand Khadi of State Sharia Court of Appeal and President of State Customary Court of Appeal are to earn a monthly package of N3.53 million.

Other allowances not embedded in the total monthly package include leave allowances, estacode per night of $2000 when applicable, duty tour allowances when applicable, severance gratuity of N80.78 million after successful completion of tenure as well as an option of motor vehicle loan to be repaid before the expiration of tenure.

It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had in a letter read by Senate president, Godswill Akpabio, during plenary on March 20 proposed a salary increase for judicial officers in the country.

The President in the letter argued that the bill would promote the independence and capacity of the Nigerian judiciary system.

Senator Yisa in his lead debate said remuneration was needed to reflect the contemporary socio-economic realities of the times.

He argued that the proposed legal framework would bring about significant improvement in the welfare, capacity, and independence of the judiciary, which have remained contentious issues of public discourse over the years.

In his contribution, the deputy president of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, thanked President Tinubu for proposing a Bill to increase the salaries and allowance for Judicial Officers in the country.

Barau said: “I joined the President of the Senate to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for bringing forward this Bill. This is very important and he has done well, not only for the judiciary but for the entire nation.

 “Mr. President, by the nature of the judicial officers, they don’t agitate. They cry in silence, and they don’t speak out. Other workers agitate, and they stage protests. But the judiciary doesn’t talk; they cry in silence.

“Now, the president of the country has spoken for them. What he did is something laudable and we are applauding him here. Because a country that didn’t take its judiciary in a very important passion is doomed.

“And when you want to take the judiciary seriously, you have to take the remuneration of the judiciary staff seriously.  That is very important, and that is what he has done. They have stagnated for several years.

“What the president has done should be supported and we will give him more support to continue to work on this kind of trajectory for the development of the nation. So, Mr. President, I joined you and other colleagues to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC – Borno North) Monguno, said improving the welfare of judges will insulate them from corruption and ensure they deliver just and fair judgments.

On his part, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia North), said: “No right-thinking Nigerian will not think that it is right to keep the judiciary comfortable. I want to thank the executive for deeming it fit to increase the salaries of judges at all levels.”

Senators later approved that the bill be read for a second time when it was put to voice vote by Akpabio.

Akpabio thereafter referred the Bill to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters for further legislative input and to report back in four weeks.

 

The Nation

 

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