The latest revelation about the remuneration of Nigerian judges may partly be responsible for bribe-taking among judges in the country.
It was gathered that for the past 12 years, salaries of judges both at the federal and state levels have not been reviewed.
Despite that, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency found millions of foreign currencies in the accounts of Nigeria’s former Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen.
In one of its reports, Sahara Reporters says justice is for sale in Nigeria. Powerful and rich people have also been accused of buying justice both at the Appeal and Supreme Courts.
A detailed report published by LEADERSHIP says things may remain the same as there are no plans to do anything about it.
It was gathered that the last time the judges’ salaries and allowances were increased was in 2007 following the enactment of the “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) (Amendment) Act of 2008” which came into force on February 1, 2007. The law had repealed a similar Act of 2002 to create room for the increase of judges’ basic salaries, allowances and fringe benefits in 2007.
From that time till date, there has not been an upward review of the earnings of judges, the sources said.
Under the “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) (Amendment) Act, 2008”, the CJN’s annual basic salary is N3,353,972.50 (or N279,497.71 monthly), while other Justices of the Supreme Court and the President of the Court of Appeal receive N2,477,110 as basic annual salary or N206,425.83 monthly.
The Justices of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court and President of the Industrial Court, Grand Khadi of State and FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, President FCT and State Customary Court of Appeal earn annual basic salary of N1, 995,430.18 each.
Also, judges of the Federal, State and FCT High Courts, National Industrial Court, Khadi Sharia Court of Appeal in the FCT and State; and FCT and State Customary Courts also earn an annual basic salary of N1,804,740 each.
The Act also specifies the allowances and fringe benefits payable to judicial officers at the federal and states which are predicated on the annual basic salaries on a percentage basis.
The law lists such allowances as accommodation, utilities, domestic staff, entertainment, medical, security, furniture, personal assistance, motor vehicle loan, severance/gratuity and retirement benefits.
Others are leave allowance, motor vehicle maintenance and fuel, hardship, newspapers, estacode, duty tour, outfit and special assistant allowances.
The Act states that the accommodation, medical, security and special assistant allowances and benefits won’t be paid but provided by the NJC.
While the furniture allowance is paid every four years, the leave allowance is earned yearly. The car loan facility is optional; it is a benefit noticed more on paper than what actually gets to the beneficiaries, according to a serving judge, who did not want to be mentioned.
While the CJN earns $2,000 estacode when he travels abroad, other Supreme Court Justices and the President of the Court of Appeal earns $1,300 of estacode each. Other judges earn between $600 and $1,100 estacode each.
In the event of retirement, the judges’ benefits from CJN down the line are based on the scheme of service. These earnings, according to the Act are exclusive of tax.
When the basic salary, allowances and fringe benefits are computed and posted, the CJN and other Justices of the Supreme Court receive a monthly salary of N480, 766.89 and N751, 000 in their bank accounts respectively. The CJN’s net monthly salary is lower than his brother Justices because of deductions made on account of other monetary and material provisions such as food items, which are provided for him by the federal government.
Shehu Sani reacts
Speaking on the remuneration of Nigerian judges, the Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly said if nothing is done about the remuneration of the judicial officers, efforts by the government to put them under corruption searchlight may be fruitless.
Was the Senate not aware of these revelations for 4 years? With less than a month to go, you are now seeing what's always been obvious. Good morning Senator!
— Tjebs (@teejebs) May 6, 2019
“The revelations that Judges salaries & allowances has been stagnant for 12 years is gross injustice. Its illogical to expect Judges to perform without fear or favour while being underpaid & impoverished. With all these searchlight & scrutiny,they deserve their adequate remuneration,” he tweeted.
I agree! You have since turned a psychiatric case since you lost re-election and knowing your N13 million monthly drain on Nigeria is gonna end this month. No 😭 too much. Any sensible person can build a billion dollar business out of that money earned for four years
— O J Ebuddy🇬🇧 (@EbuddyO) May 6, 2019
Nigerians have continued to react. You can also join the conversation by using the comment box below.