…urges federal and state governments to live up to their obligations under the implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and the State Judiciary Order, 2020, known as Executive Order 10 signed by the President
“The salaries of justices are static with no graduation as in the civil and public service. We have been on one salary grade for over 10 years now”
Unlike the jumbo pay those in Executive and Legislative arms of government earn, Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts at the federal level are being paid peanuts and trifling wages, it has been authoritatively revealed.
For instance, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who is the head of the judiciary in Nigeria, as at today earns N279, 497 as monthly salary, an equivalent of $680.
Other justices on the Supreme Court bench go home with the sum of N206,425 or $502.
Disclosing this, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, bemoaned the poor salaries of judicial officers in the country.
Dongban-Mensem, who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening of the 2021/22 Legal Year, said the salaries, minus allowances, of judicial officers have stagnated in the last 10 years.
According to her, as the President of the Court of Appeal, she receives the sum of N206,425 or $502 monthly.
Other justices on the bench of the Court of Appeal, go home with N166,285 or $404 every month.
Dongban-Mensem, therefore, urged the federal government to do immediate upward review of the salaries of judicial officers.
“I implore the government of the federation and states to urgently review the salaries and allowances of judicial officers and staff.
“The salaries of justices are static with no graduation as in the civil and public service. We have been on one salary grade for over 10 years now,” she said.
The judge said the salary structure for judicial officers and staff in Nigeria is among the poorest compared to their counterparts in other African and Commonwealth countries.
Dongban-Mensem recalled that the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was in 2008 effective from February 1, 2007.
She, therefore, called on the federal and state governments to live up to their obligations under the implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and the State Judiciary Order, 2020, known as Executive Order 10.
“May I also call on the government to increase financial allocations that will enable us to introduce technical innovations that would improve adjudication.”
For instance, judges in South Africa earn between R1.8million for a high court judge to R 2.8million for the chief justice.
In dollars, the South African judges earn between $127,000 to $196,000.
In Kenya, the entry salary of a Supreme Court judge is Sh792,000($7206) minus allowances, with a ceiling of Sh1,218,535($11,087).
The entry salary of Court of Appeal judges is Sh689,224($6,271) without allowances. The salary is capped at Sh1,122,759($10,216).
A High Court judge’s entry package is Sh657,426 ($5,982) and is capped at Sh907,279($8,255).
Persecondnews recalls that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had in 2021 embarked on a two-month long strike over the alleged refusal of the Executive arm of Government to comply with the provisions of Section 121 (3) the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which guarantees the financial independence of the judiciary.
On June 9, 2021, JUSUN had suspended its industrial action over the autonomy.
In a communique issued at the end of its emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, the NEC-in-session thanked the Chief Justice of the Federation and all heads of courts for their patience and understanding throughout the period of the industrial action.