The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to as a matter of urgency increase the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and slash the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and every other political office-holder in a bid to tackle the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and ameliorate access of victims of corruption to justice.
The request came following a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the government’s silence on the strike which has stalled court activities across Nigeria.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, that was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation revealed that Judges should get everything they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to persistently treat Judges as second-class people, while top political office holders go home with high salaries and allowances.
SERAP disclosed further that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have reduced drastically behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders like President, Vice-President, Governors and their Deputies, as well as National Assembly members.
Part of the letter read: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”