A lawyer, Sebastian Hon, sued the Federation Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the National Council for the Judiciary and the National Assembly for the poor salaries of judges.
Nigeria’s lead solicitor, who filed the suit in the Federal High Court in Abuja, urged the court to compel the defendants and the Tax and Revenue Mobilization Allowance Commission to raise the judges’ salaries.
The lead attorney stated that he had filed the complaint bearing the notation: FHC/ABJ/CS/595/2022, in his capacity as the relevant lawyer in Nigeria.
In a sworn statement in support of the original subpoena, he said he believed the judges’ low salaries were affecting the quality of the judgments rendered.
“As a lawyer who has practiced at all levels of the Nigerian courts, I know that the low remuneration of judicial officers seriously affects the quality of judgments and decisions that these officers render.
“It also affects the performance of other functions associated with their offices.”
He argued that the country’s current economic reality demanded that the salaries and allowances of the country’s judges be urgently improved.
The Complainant stated that the highest paid judicial officer in the country, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), currently earns around N3.4 million a year.
He said that was well below what officers of the same level earned in other countries.
The lead lawyer said judges’ salaries and allowances were last raised in 2008 despite the naira losing value against other world currencies.
He asked the court, among other things, to declare that it was unconstitutional for the competent authorities to neglect to review the salaries of judges upwards.
The plaintiff also wanted an order requiring the defendants to immediately activate measures to urgently review the salaries of the bailiffs.
“The CJN salary should be increased to a minimum of 12 million naira per month, 11 million naira for other Supreme Court Justices and the President of the Court of Appeal.
“10 million naira for the other judges of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court and the President of the National Labor Court (NIC).”
He also asked the court to compel the defendants to increase the minimum monthly income of an NIC judge to N9 million.
“N8 million for Chief Justices of the States and Federal Capital Territory High Court, while other judges should be entitled to N7 million.”
He also asked the court to oblige RMAFC or the competent authorities to, in collaboration with the Attorney General, carry out an annual review or at most every two years of the salaries and allowances of the judicial officers.
However, no date has been set for the hearing of the lawsuit.