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May 9, 2024

Tinubu proposes N13m annual basic salary for judicial officers

Kano Emirate tussle: Wade in now before it degenerates into chaos - Ulamas to Tinubu

Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu

By Henry  Umoru, Abuja 

The proposal by President Bola Tinubu to allow the Chief Justice of Nigeria,  CJN, Justices of the Supreme  Court, President of the Court of Appeal and other judicial officers in the country get jumbo salaries and allowances has got a boost in the Senate as a bill to this has scaled second reading.  

The bill seeks to amend Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) Act, No. 6, 2002 (as amended) by deleting Section 2(b), Part II of the Schedule to the Act and any other provisions relating to Judicial Office Holders.

The bill, when signed into law by President Tinubu, is to take effect from 1st January 2024.

After it was passed for second reading, the Bill was referred to the Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno North) led Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to report back in four weeks.

The Bill

The Bill is for an Act to Prescribe the Salaries, Allowances, and Fringe Benefits of Judicial Office Holders in Nigeria, and for related matters, 2024 (SB.419).

It was presented for consideration by the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) as an Executive Bill. 

In his presentation of the lead debate on the general principles of the bill on Thursday, the Senate leader said, “For the avoidance of doubt, this is an Executive Bill, forwarded to the two Chambers of the National Assembly by President Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Federation, in accordance with the provisions of Section 58(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.”

According to Bamidele,  the bill intends to unify the salary structure as well as allowances and fringe benefits of Judicial Officers Holders both in the Federal and at the State levels. This proposed legal framework, undoubtedly, will bring about significant improvement in the welfare, capacity and independence of the Judiciary, which have been contentious issues of public discourse over the years. 

The Senate leader said, “The Bill, in a nutshell, seeks to prescribe salaries, allowances and fringe benefits for Judicial Officers in order to nip in the bud the prolonged stagnation in their remuneration so as to reflect the contemporary socio-economic realities of our time.

“Similarly, the Bill intends to unify the salary structure as well as allowances and fringe benefits of Judicial Officers Holders both in the Federal and the State levels.

“This proposed legal framework, undoubtedly, will bring about significant improvement in the welfare, capacity and independence of the Judiciary, which have been contentious issues of public discourse over the years. 

“I wish to categorically state that the purport and intent of this Bill are in conformity with the current administration’s resolve to strengthen the country’s judiciary and the criminal justice system, with a view to ensuring its independence in the performance of its constitutional role, as the arbiter of the temple of justice.”

Salary breakdown

The breakdown in the Part 1 of the  Schedule attached to the lead debate showed that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN is entitled to N13,462,617.95 annual basic salary or N1,121,884.83 monthly salary.

The CJN is also entitled to: N51,157,948.21 annual regular allowances or N4,263,162.35 monthly regular allowances.

He is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N6,731,308.98 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N142,500 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $2,000 estacode (per night); N80,775,707.70 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure) and N53,850,471.80 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Other justices of the Supreme Court are to be paid N9,913,394.22 annual basic salary or N826,116.19 monthly salary.

Each of them is also entitled to: N50,558,310.52 annual regular allowances or N4,213,192.54 monthly regular allowances.

Each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N9,913,394.22 for Rent (annually); N4,956,697.11 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N100,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $1,300 estacode (per night); N29,740,182.66 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure), N29,740,182.66 furniture allowance and N39,653,576.88 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before the expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

President of the Court of Appeal is entitled to N9,913,394.22 annual basic salary or N826,116.19 monthly salary, just as he/She is also entitled to: N52,540,989.37 annual regular allowances or N4,478,415.78 monthly regular allowances.

He/She is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N9,913,394.22 Rent (annually); N4,956,697.11 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N100,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $1,300 estacode (per night); N29,740,182.66 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure), N29,740,182.66 furniture Allowance and N39,653,576.88 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Each of the Justices of the Court of Appeal is entitled to: N7,985,711.58 annual basic salary or N665,475.97 monthly salary, even as each of them is also entitled to: N44,719,984.85 annual regular allowances or N3,726,665.40 monthly regular allowances.

‘Non-regular allowances’

Each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N7,985,711.58 for Rent (annually); N3,992,855.79 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N85,500 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $1,100 estacode (per night); N23,957,134.74 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure); N23,957,134.74 Furniture Allowance and N31,942,846.32 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before the expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Also, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the President of the National Industrial Court, the Chief Judge FCT High Court, Grand Khadi FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, the Resident FCT Customary Court of Appeal, Chief Judge State High Court, Grand Kadi State Sharia Court of Appeal and President State Customary Court of Appeal are all entitled to the same salaries, allowances and fringe benefits.

Each of the Justices of the Court of Appeal is entitled to: N7,985,711.58 annual basic salary or N665,475.97 monthly salary as well as N42,324,271.37 annual regular allowances or N3,527,022.61 monthly regular allowances.

Each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N7,985,711.58 for Rent (annually); N3,992,855.79 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N85,500 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $1,100 estacode (per night); N23,957,134.74 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure).

Others are N23,957,134.74 Furniture Allowance and N31,942,846.32 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before the expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

In the same vein, Judges of the Federal High Court, National Industrial Court, FCT High Court, FCT Customary Court of Appeal, State High Court, State Customary Court of Appeal, Kadis FCT Sharia Court of Appeal and Kadis State Sharia Court of Appeal are entitled to the same salaries, allowances and fringe benefits.

Each of them is entitled to: N7,222,569.48 annual basic salary or N601,880.79 monthly salary.

Each of them is also entitled to: N36,835,104.35 annual regular allowances or N3,069,592.03 monthly regular allowances.

Each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of: N7,222,569.48 for Rent (annually); N3,611,284.74 Leave Allowance (when applicable), N57,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $600 estacode (per night); N21,677,708.44 severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure); N21,677,708.44 Furniture Allowance and N28,890,277.92 as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Recall that the House of Representatives has passed this  bill after it was read the third time and when passed by the Senate after the public hearing,  it would be transmitted to the President for assent.

Lawmakers react

Earlier in his contribution,  Senator  Adams Oshiomhole, APC, Edo North, said  “the prevailing economic conditions demand that we review wages, taking into account the rate of inflation.”

Senator Oshiomhole who noted  that there should be a clause in the Bill that will adjust the wages of the judicial officers based on the level of inflation yearly,  said: “At the time we passed the budget last year at N750 per dollar, the overall cost of living compared to what it is today is different. The issue of salary administration needs not be brought to Parliament for debate.

“We need to fix a clause that says, provided that every year, within that law, there should be a provision of appropriate organs to review and take into account the rate of inflation and adjust the wages of both Chief Judge of the Federation and all the judges that are covered by this act.”

Also in his contribution, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abba Moro, PDP, Benue South said, “I am not against this bill. But I think it is germane that we do something about it. Judiciary is the last hope of the common man.

“Given the rate of present inflation and to ensure that our Judicial officers are not allowed to fall into temptation, it is good. I  suggest that Mr. President be allowed to gauge the mood of the workers.”

On his part, the Deputy Senate President,  Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North said: “They don’t cry  out, can’t agitate like other workers. They have been crying in silence. We take the judiciary seriously, we must also take their remuneration seriously.”

In his remarks, the President of the Senate,  Senator Godswill Akpabio said that the  President has the prerogative to do that, depending on the rate of inflation.

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