Review salaries, allowances of Judicial Officers, Appeal Court President begs FG

• Maintain sanctity, credibility of Court, Malami tells Appeal Court Justices

Worried by the poor salary structures of Judicial Officers and staff, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, on Monday called for the upward review of their salaries for optimal and efficient performance.

Justice Dongban-Mensem who disclosed this while speaking at the opening of the 2021/22 legal year of the appellate court said, the salaries of judicial officers have been stagnated for over ten years.

She lamented that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who is the Head of the Judiciary in Nigeria, as at today takes home N279, 497 as monthly salary, while his brother justices on the Supreme Court bench go home the sum of N206,425, a salary structure, she said is far below what their counterparts in other countries earn.

Justice Dongban-Mensem said as President of the Court of Appeal, she receives the sum of N206,425, while other justices on the bench of the Court of Appeal, go home with N166,285 every month.

She noted with sadness that the salary structure for judicial officers and staff in Nigeria has consistently ranked poorly when compared to that of their counterparts in other African and Commonwealth countries.

Justice Dongban-Mensem recalled that the last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was in 2008, when the upward review was made to take effect on February 1, 2007.

She therefore, called on the federal and states governments to leave up to their obligations under the implementation of Financial autonomy of state legislature and the state judiciary order, 2020, known as Executive Order 10.

“I implore the government of the federation and states to urgently review the salaries and allowances of judicial officers and staff. The salaries of justices are static with no graduation as in the civil and public service. We have been on one salary grade for over 10 years now.

“May I also call on the government to increase financial allocations that will enable us to introduce technical innovations that would improve adjudication,” she said.

On the performance of the Appeal Court under review, the president disclosed that a total of 5,392 appeals and 9,249 motions were filed in the 20 divisions of the Court in the last legal year between September 2020 to August 2021.

Out of the cases, Justice Dongban-Mensem revealed that 3,111 appeals were disposed along with 7,492 motions and added that out of the appeals 2, 169 appeals were dismissed while 942 appeals were upheld as of August 31, 2021.

In his speech, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) while assuring that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, will review the welfare of judicial officers generally to ensure greater efficiency also called on Justices of the court to maintain the sanctity and credibility of the Court.

Malami called on Justices of the appellate to ensure that the sacred integrity reposed in them remain un-shaking at all times in order to foster and promote public confidence in all their judgments.

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