Senate approves 300% salary increase for judges, judiciary officials - Ripples Nigeria
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Senate approves 300% salary increase for judges, judiciary officials



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Nigeria’s Senate passed a bill on Wednesday granting a 300% pay rise for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and all other judicial officers in the country.

The Red Chamber approved the report presented by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, chaired by Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC- Borno North), to the lawmakers.

This followed the consideration and adoption of an executive bill transmitted by President Bola Tinubu, which sought to prescribe improved salaries and allowances as well as other fringe benefits for judicial officers and workers.

The Executive bill forwarded by the President is titled “A Bill for an Act to Prescribe the Salaries, Allowances and Fringe Benefits of Judicial Office Holders in Nigeria and for Related Matters”.

The bill, if similarly passed by the House of Representatives, and assented to by the President will give the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, an annual salary of N64m.

The President of the Court of Appeal will be entitled to N62.4m, while Justices of the Supreme Court will earn the sum of N61.4m each.

All heads of the various courts, such as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court the President of the National Industrial Court, among others, would earn the same basic salary of N7.9 million annually.

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Speaking further, the Borno lawmaker told his colleagues that stakeholders at the public hearing of the bill unanimously supported its passage.

“The proposed legislation is apt and timely as the increase in remuneration of judicial office holders is long overdue in the light of the present economic realities and high inflation in the country,” he said.

“Fair compensation for judicial officers is crucial for maintaining public trust in the judiciary’s impartiality and integrity. When Judges are adequately compensated, it demonstrates a commitment by society towards the important role they play in upholding justice,” he added.

He added that the increment under consideration has been captured in the 2024 Appropriation Act.

This significant increase has sparked debate, with proponents arguing it strengthens judicial independence and attracts qualified candidates, while critics raise concerns about fiscal responsibility and potential for public perception issues.

Boosting Judicial Independence?

Supporters of the bill, championed by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, highlight the need to improve the remuneration of judicial officers. They argue that current salaries make the judiciary vulnerable to external pressures and potential corruption. Increased salaries, they say, would enhance judicial independence and attract highly qualified legal minds to the bench.

Fiscal Concerns and Public Perception

Opponents of the hefty raise express concerns about the fiscal burden on the nation, particularly considering ongoing economic challenges. Critics also raise questions about public perception, suggesting such a substantial increase may be seen as excessive at a time when many Nigerians face economic hardship.

Stakeholders will be watching closely to see the final outcome and its potential impact on the Nigerian justice system.

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