Senate moves to increase salaries, allowances of judicial officers

Sharon EboesomiMay 9, 20245 min

The bill amongst other things seeks to ensure significant improvements in the welfare capacity and independence of judicial officers holders at both the state and federal levels.

Senate moves to increase salaries, allowances of judicial officers - Bill

The Senate has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to increase the salaries of judicial officers. The bill amongst other things seeks to ensure significant improvements in the welfare capacity and independence of judicial officers holders at both the state and federal levels.

This followed the consideration of an executive bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to Prescribe the Salaries, allowances and fringe benefits of Judicial office holders in Nigeria and for Related Matters, 2024,” during Thursday’s plenary.

In his lead debate, the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Oyelola Ashiru (APC, Kwara South) said the proposed legislation when passed, will improve the salaries and allowances of judicial officers to keep the board from long stagnation in their remuneration, to reflect the contemporary socio-economic realities of our time. 

He said, “The bill intends to unify the salary structure as well as allowances and free benefits for judicial office holders, both at federal and state level. 

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

He also implored his colleagues to support the dispensational passage of the bill given its importance to the socio-economic and political development of the country. 

READ ALSO: Tinubu writes Senate, seeks new salaries for judicial officers 

Supporting the second reading of the bill, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North) noted that a similar bill had been presented on the floor of the 9th Senate, but “did not eventually see the light of the day.”

According to him, the increase in salaries for the judicial holders will “keep them comfortable, especially those at the state level.”

“When you go to the state and see judicial officers jumping on Okada and Keke, you will cry for the nation.

“I want to also caution that now that they will have a comfortable salary, they should face to give Nigerian people justice,” he added.

To lessen the hardship brought on by the inflation of market goods, Kalu further urged his colleagues to also pay attention to other economic sectors.

He said, “The cost of things in the market today is so high. We should encourage the executive as lawmakers to bring more bills to other sectors of the economy so that they can also enjoy the increments.”

On his part, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) expressed worry over the continuous rising inflation in the country. He recommended 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.

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 need not be brought to the parliament for debate. 

“We need to fix it and have 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 the chief judges of the federation and all the judges that are covered by this act.”

Responding to Oshiomhole’s concerns, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said, “If you look at the bill by section 4, it says, “The President may, upon the recommendation of the commission, from time to time, by order published in the Federal Gazette, vary the provisions of the schedule to these acts.”

“So, depending on the rate of inflation, depending on the changing circumstances of time, the President may vary this from time to time so I think it is already provided,” he added.

Following the debate on the general principles of the bill, Akpabio put it to a voice vote and it was immediately passed for a second reading. He thereafter referred it to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back in four weeks.

Sharon Eboesomi

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