Nigerian judges, most unrewarded –Tinubu


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday reflected on the career path of Nigerian judges and declared that they belong to the category of public officers with the most unrewarded responsibilities in the country.

The occasion was the hosting of the members of the Federal Judiciary to iftar at the State House.

The judiciary led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola also had two retired CJNs, Justice Walter Onnoghen, and Justice Mahmoud Mohammed in attendance.

Tinubu who wondered why the framers of the law barred judicial officers from practicing after retirement said even in the 21st century, the judicial officers still discharge their responsibilities under laborious condition.

“I recognize that the judiciary has one of the most unrewarded responsibilities.

“They are yet to modernize equipment and record-keeping, and their progress towards improvement is slow.

“When you look at the career path of a judicial officer, they cannot practice the vocation for which they were trained after retirement.

“While the framers of the law may have their reasons, I perceive this differently and see this from a fair compensation angle that should benefit all,’’ the President said.

The President therefore reiterated his commitment to the upliftment of the Judiciary and the Justice system.

“We will continue to support one another and bring Nigeria to that glorious dawn,’’ he stated, while also expressing his gratitude to the judiciary for its dedicated service to the nation, acknowledging its role in upholding the respectability of the judicial arm of government.

Only recently, Tinubu sent  the “Judicial Office Holders, Salaries and Allowances, etc, Bill 2024” to the National Assembly.

The bill according to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN proposed a 300.3 percent increase in the emoluments of judicial officers at the Federal level.

He did a similar thing in 1999 when he became the governor of Lagos State.

He increased the allowances of judges by 300 percent, making the state judges earn more than even Supreme Court justices.

The President also used the occasion to state clearly that individuals involved in kidnapping of innocent citizens must be treated as terrorists, condemning the activities of kidnappers across the country.

He said that those who resorted to kidnapping children are cowards, incapable of confronting the might of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“We must treat kidnappers as terrorists. They are cowardly. They have been degraded. They look for soft targets. They go to schools and kidnap children and cause disaffection.

‘We must treat them equally as terrorists in order to get rid of them, and I promise you we will get rid of them,’’ the President said.

Responding, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ariwoola, commended the President for hosting judicial officers to a Ramadan dinner, his commitment to judicial reforms, and for improving the welfare of judicial officers.

“May the Lord continue to bless you and your administration. Let your ship land and berth beautifully. We shall continue to pray for your administration because there are many good things in the pipeline for Nigerians,” he said.

Ariwoola commended the administration for achieving an unprecedented milestone by appointing a full complement of 21 justices to the Supreme Court.

Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, expressed gratitude to the President for forwarding the executive bill, titled, “Judicial Office Holders, Salaries and Allowances, etc, Bill 2024” to the National Assembly.

Highlighting the stagnant state of judges’ salaries and emoluments since 2007, Fagbemi commended the President’s courage, determination, and compassion in taking the decisive action.

“It takes a man with a great heart, determination, and consideration to do what the President did.

“More than 300.3 per cent salary increase has been given to the judges.

“The President has done his own part, never mind that the bill is still with the National Assembly;

‘’In my short stay as the Attorney-General, I have come to observe that anything that concerns the judiciary, you are very much interested in it, and I thank you for your abiding interest in the judiciary,’’ he said.

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