The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has called for the review of the salaries of judicial workers.

Justice Dongban-Mensem made the call during the opening ceremony of the 2021/2022 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal.

According to her, Nigeria records a poor salary structure for its judicial officers when compared with the rest of African and Commonwealth countries.

She said, “My Lord, the Hon. Justice Mustapha Akanbi, CFR (of blessed memory), a former President of the Court of Appeal, stated in a publication entitled ‘The main obstacles of justice according to law’ that ‘A good judgment flows from a mind that is not bogged by the thought of where do I get my next meal or where do I get the money to pay my son’s school fees. Poor conditions of service disturb the mind. It is an obstacle to clear and positive thinking.’

“However, 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.  The last time salaries of judicial officers were reviewed in Nigeria was February 1, 2007.”

She added that the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s annual basic salary ‘is N3,353,972.50 or N279,497.71 monthly, while other Justices of the Supreme Court and the President of the Court of Appeal earn N2,477,110.00 as basic annual salary or N206,425.83 monthly.’

Justice Dongban-Mensem also disclosed that other Justices of the Court of Appeal, earn an annual basic salary of N 1,995,430.18 each or N 166,285.84 monthly, exclusive of benefits and allowances.

“The necessary political will for financial independence was demonstrated by his Excellency, Mr. President’s promulgation of the Implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary Order, 2020, known as ‘Executive Order 10.’

“We therefore call upon the Federal and state governments to live up to their obligations under the law.  I also implore the Governments 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 over10 years now,” she added.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, called on the Court of Appeal to maintain its sanctity and credibility.