The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Abuja on Friday ordered an increment in the salaries of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and other judges.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon, filed a suit seeking an upward review of the emoluments and salaries of judges in Nigeria.
He argued that the salaries of Nigerian judges have remained stagnant since 2008 when they were last reviewed.
Hon sought among others, in his suit, an order compelling the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to increase the salaries and allowances of judges in the country.
In her ruling, the trial judge, Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, said “judges have been victims of great injustice” and described their poor salaries as a “national shame”.
“It is unconstitutional and unlawful for the RMAFC to refuse to review the salaries of judges,” the judge, Obaseki-Osaghae ruled before granting all the claimant’s prayers.
She ordered that “the judgement is to be served on the 2nd defendant (AGF) immediately,” criticising the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, for arguing that judges have no legal right to have their salaries reviewed upwards.
The court ordered the RMAFC to immediately raise the salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to N10 million monthly from the current N3.4 million per annum, said to be far below what is earned by his counterparts in other countries.
The judge also ordered the RMAFC to review the salaries of other heads of courts and their judges ranging between N9 million to N7 million monthly.
Before ruling on the case, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae ruled on the issue of jurisdiction, holding that the claimant has shown sufficient reason and thus has jurisdiction over the claims.
The case had progressed at the court after earlier efforts by the National Assembly and the National Judicial Council to have an out-of-court settlement failed.