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SERAP says it is unfair to pay judges less, while Presidents and governors take home “huge salaries”

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has said that it is unfair to pay the Muhammadu Buhari governors, and lawmakers huge salaries, then pay judges less.

The group also urged Chairman, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Elias Mbam, to “urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian judges, and to review downward the remuneration and allowances of high-ranking political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of judges, and to improve access of victims of corruption to justice.”

SERAP also urged him “to send your review and recommendations to the National Assembly for appropriate remedial and legislative action, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).”

SERAP said the letter followed the nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria over financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government.

In the letter dated April 10, 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “Judges should get all to which they are reasonably entitled, and it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat judges as ‘second-class people’ while high-ranking political office-holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

“The remuneration and allowances of judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as President, Vice-President, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

“Nigerian judges are among the least paid in the world. The poor treatment of judges is neither fair to them nor to the Nigerian people. Judges deserve remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service commensurate with their judicial powers and responsibilities.”

“While the remuneration and allowances of judges are grossly insufficient to enable them to maintain themselves and their families in reasonable comfort, high-ranking political office-holders continue to enjoy lavish allowances, including life pensions, and access to security votes, which they have powers to spend as they wish.”

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