Salaries of judiciary stagnated in past 16 years, says AGF

Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, has bemoaned the neglect in the remuneration of judicial officers for close to 17 years, a situation he asserted as antithetical to any meaningful judicial reform.

He stated this on Monday during a one-day public hearing bordering on the advancement of the welfare of the judiciary and the need to salvage an impoverished judiciary.

Fagbemi and the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, had appeared before the Senate committee on Judiciary, human rights and legal matters for the commencement of hearing on a bill for an Act, to prescribe the salaries and allowance, and fringe benefits of judicial office holders in Nigeria and related matter bill 2024.

He further reminded that between May 1999 and March 2011, the Federal Government had reviewed the salaries and allowances of Public Servants and Political office holders on four occasions, specifically in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2011 and New regimes of national minimum wage, were also put in place within the same period, however, noted that the salaries of judicial officers were only reviewed twice during the same period.

The President of the Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, however, asked for an amendment of the law to solve the problem of retired judiciary officers, proposing a 4-year periodic review of salaries of judicial officers.

Meanwhile, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban- Mensem, said salaries and welfare are not the only crucial issues.

He argued that the cost of operations has become a major challenge, that has necessitated the thought to shut down some of the courts, owing to low budgetary provisions.