LawPolitics

PROPOSED SALARY INCREASE: Tinubu Pushes N60m Annual Pay For Supreme Court Justices

Executive

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, passed a bill that was sent to it by President Bola Tinubu for the upward review of salaries, allowances, and fringe benefits for judicial officers nationwide for the third reading.

Based on the provisions of the bill, judges are to get over 800 per cent pay rise, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria is to earn N64.6m annual basic salary and allowances, far higher than what obtains currently.

Other justices of the Supreme Court are to earn annual basic salaries and regular allowances of over N60m annually.

The development received the backing of various Senior Advocates of Nigeria, as they insisted that well-remunerated judicial officers would be less susceptible to corruption.

The bill seeks to amend Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) Act, No. 6, 2002 (as amended) by deleting Section 2(b), Part II of the Schedule to the Act and any other provisions relating to judicial office holders.

When signed into law by the President, the legislation will take effect from January 1, 2024.

Various pay rise

Part I of the schedule revealed that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is entitled to N64.6m annual regular allowances and salary, which translates to N5.38m monthly.

The CJN, by the provisions of the bill, is also entitled to N13.46m annual basic salary, representing N1.12m monthly, and is to get non-regular allowances of N6.73m as leave allowance (when applicable); N142,500 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); and $2,000 estacode (per night).

The CJN is also entitled to N80.78m severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure) and N53.85m as a motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while the Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Other justices of the Supreme Court, based on the provisions of the bills, are each entitled to N60.47m annual regular allowances and basic salaries which translates to N5.03mm monthly.

They are to earn N9.91m annual basic salary, representing N826,116.19 monthly.

The bill further shows that each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of N9.91m rent (annually); N4.96m leave allowance (when applicable); N100,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); and $1,300 estacode (per night).

They are to get N29.74m severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure), N29.74m furniture allowance, and N39.65m as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Meanwhile, utilities and security are to be provided via tax-deferred payments

The President of the Court of Appeal, he/she is to earn N9.91m annual basic salary or N826,116 per month.

“He/she is also entitled to N52.54m annual regular allowances or N4.48m monthly regular allowances. He/she is also entitled to non-regular allowances of N9.91m rent (annually); N4.96m leave allowance (when applicable), N100,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); and $1,300 estacode (per night).

“N29.74m severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure), N29.74m furniture allowance, and N39.65m as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool,” the bill proposed.

If passed into law, each of the justices of the Court of Appeal would be entitled to N44.72m annual regular allowances or N3.73m monthly regular allowances.

Each of them will earn N7.99m annual basic salary or N665,475 monthly salary.

Each of them is also entitled to non-regular allowances of N7.99m rent (annually); N3.99m leave allowance (when applicable), N85,500 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); and $1,100 estacode (per night).

Each of them is to get N23.96m severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure); N23.96m furniture allowance and N31.94m as motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure), while Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

Similarly, judges of the Federal High Court, National Industrial Court, FCT High Court, FCT Customary Court of Appeal, State High Court, State Customary Court of Appeal, Kadis FCT Sharia Court of Appeal, and Kadis State Sharia Court of Appeal are entitled to the same salaries, allowances and fringe benefits.

Each of them is entitled to N36.84m annual regular allowances which translates to N3.07m monthly.

Each of them is also entitled to N7.22m annual basic salary, representing N601,880 monthly.

They are entitled to non-regular allowances of N7.22m rent (annually); N3.61m leave allowance (when applicable); N57,000 Duty Tour Allowance (per night); $600 estacode (per night); N21.68m severance gratuity (after successful completion of tenure); N21,68m furniture allowance and N28.89m motor vehicle loan (to be repaid before expiration of tenure). The Professional Development Assistant is to be paid from the NJC pool.

The bill is set for transmission to the President for his assent.

Comparing the percentages using the salary formula approved by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and figures contained in the bill, the monthly salary and allowances of the CJN surged by 860.48 per cent following the provisions in the bill.

The House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary has invited the Ministers of Finance, Budget, and National Planning as well as the Secretary, the National Judicial Council for deliberation over the poor remuneration of judicial officials across the country.

Also invited to the meeting slated for Monday, March 25, 2024, are the National President, Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, the Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the Chairman, the Nation’s Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the President, Nigeria Bar Association.

During a valedictory court session in his honour, retired Justice Musa Dattijo of the Supreme Court revealed that Justices of the apex were poorly paid.

“It may interest one to know that the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court earns more than the Justices. While she earns N1.2m per month, justices take home N751, 000 in a month.

“The CJN, on his part takes home N400, 000 plus. The salary of a Justice, curiously, drops rather than increases when he gets the added responsibility of being a CJN.

“That the unjust and embarrassing salary difference between the justices and the Chief Registrar still abides remains intriguing to say the least,” Justice Dattijo had said.

The House committee, in its letter dated March 18, 2014 and titled “Case for upward review of judicial remuneration,” said it also received complaints about judges salaries from the Nigerian Bar Association.

The letter signed by the committee’s chairman, Oluwole Oke, read: “The committee is in receipt of a submission by the NBA advocating a review of judicial officers’ remuneration and conditions of service.

“In view of the above submission, the committee wishes to invite you to a more robust interactive session with other stakeholders to review the submission and educate the committee on the current situation and plans to deal with the unrealistic salary structure of the judiciary and your position on the matter.”

In a brief interview with The PUNCH, Oke, who represents Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency, Osun State, said, “We have invited them over the stagnation and poor remuneration of judges and judicial officials since 2008.

“No promotion, no progression and this is very abnormal. It’s unacceptable.”