National Assembly Committed to Reforms Aimed at Repositioning Nigeria Judiciary- Senator Monguno

The chairman of Senate committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters, Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno North) on Monday said the National Assembly is committed to embarking on multi-dimensional reforms that would strengthen and reposition the nation’s judiciary.

 

He said the reforms will be in tandem with global best practices and contemporary realities of time.

 

Monguno, spoke at a one-day public hearing to look into a bill for an act to prescribe the salaries, allowances and fringe benefits of judicial office holders in Nigeria and other related matters, 2024.

 

He eulogised judicial officers in Nigeria but regretted that in spite of their roles in maintaining social stability, promoting economic development and safeguarding the integrity of our institutions, salaries and allowances of judicial officers have remained stagnant for far too long.

 

According to Senator Monguno, this has led to concerns about the ability to attract and retain the best legal minds in the judiciary.

 

“We must ensure that they are paid remuneration commensurate with the gravity of their work and the high moral standards expected of them” he said.

 

Consequently, he explained that the bill if passed, will not only improve the living standards of judicial officers, but also enhance the overall quality of the justice system, boost public confidence, and contribute to the long-term stability and prosperity.

 

“We have a moral and constitutional obligation to provide a fair compensation for those who uphold the law and protect the rights of our citizens” Monguno added.

 

Meanwhile, the Attorney-General and minister of justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, threw his weight behind the bill.

 

In the view of the minister, the judicial office holders’ salaries and allowances bill 2024 is quite innovative, aside the increment in the basic salary.

 

He observed that the bill took cognizance of certain peculiarities of the administrative structure and operation of the judiciary.

 

According to Fagbemi “the present day but sad reality is that the judiciary has stagnated on the same salary scale for over 16 years”, saying this is totally unacceptable and quite antithetical to any meaningful judicial reform.

 

Similarly, the minister of finance, Wale Edun, while supporting the bill, opined that judiciary is the pillar of democracy, congratulated leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele for initiating a bill for welfare of judicial officers in Nigeria.

 

“I request the swift passage of this bill” Edun said.

 

Other stakeholders who spoke include the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who bemoaned that for seventeen  years, judicial officers earned the same salary.

 

The CJN, represented by chief judge of Borno state, Kashim Zana urged the 10th senate to pass what he called deprivation law.

 

“Judges across Nigeria, are in critical condition in the ‘Intensive Care unit (ICU) and should be move from ICU” Ariwoola added.

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