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Improve allowances, salaries of judicial officers

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President Bola Tinubu submitted a letter to the National Assembly on Tuesday, urging the passage of a new bill aimed at revising the salaries and allowances for judicial officers across Nigeria.

The Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, presented the letter during the plenary session on the same day.

The proposed legislation aims to establish new salary structures, allowances, and additional benefits for judicial officers, addressing longstanding concerns over their remuneration.

In recent times, there has been widespread demand for better pay, allowances, and overall welfare packages for judicial officers in the country.

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 Executive bill was forwarded by the President. Dated March 19, 2024.

The letter emphasised the necessity of addressing the prolonged stagnation in judicial officers’ remuneration and adapting it to current socio-economic realities.

In accordance with the constitutional provisions of Section 58(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President urged the House of Representatives to carefully consider and pass the Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, Etc) Bill, 2024.

The bill aims not only to improve the salaries and allowances of judicial officers but also to enhance their welfare, capacity, and independence by establishing a new legal framework.

The President expressed hope for the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill, conveying his highest esteem to the Speaker.

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Prior to this development, the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary had summoned key stakeholders, including the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Secretary of the National Judicial Council, to discuss the inadequate remuneration of judicial officials.

The meeting, scheduled for March 25, 2024, also included representatives from various relevant bodies such as the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, and the Nigeria Bar Association.

Retired Justice Musa Dattijo underscored the urgency of addressing the issue during a valedictory court session, where he highlighted the significant salary disparities between justices and administrative staff within the judiciary.

This revelation further emphasizes the pressing need for reform in the remuneration structure for judicial officers.

It read: “In accordance with the provisions of Section 58(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), I forward, herewith, the Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, Etc) Bill, 2024 for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.

“The Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, Etc) Bill, 2024 seeks to prescribe salaries, allowances and fringe benefits for judicial officers, to end the prolonged stagnation in their remuneration and to reflect contemporary socio-economic realities.

“The bill, which establishes a new legal framework for the remuneration of judicial officers, will also ensure significant improvement in the welfare, capacity and independence of the judiciary.

“Whilst I hope that the Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) Bill, 2024 will be carefully yet expeditiously considered and passed by the House of Representatives, please accept, Rt Hon Speaker, the assurances of my highest esteem.”

 


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