By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
In Nigeria, out of the three arms of government- vis-à-vis the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, it is very pathetic that it is only the judiciary that its budgetary allocations are just too low compared to the other two arms of government! It is also very pathetic that it is only the judiciary that does not have a role to play in the expenditure of the national revenues! This contributes in no small amounts to the reason why the salaries and other emoluments of Nigerian judges are just a token than it ought to be. Very unfortunately for the judges too, the Nigerian naira currency has suffered a serious depreciation in value compared with the dollars’ currency of the United States of America (USA). This shows reasons too why working as a judge is very tedious because, judges are paid peanuts compared with other two arms of government. Also, under the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008, which is now more than 12 years old since enactment, the naira currency has remained the same and hugely depreciated in value even though the USA dollars of then and now are not comparable as the USA dollars has appreciated immensely. Therefore, this paper is of the firm recommendation that Nigerian judges’ salaries and other emoluments should be paid in the USA’s dollars currency rather than in the naira currency, so that since the naira currency depreciates, the dollars currency will assist in the corresponding increment in the judges’ emoluments, especially as time passes by, hence, this topic.
Under the Part II of the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008, the basic salaries of judicial officers for Federal and State Judiciary have been listed but are rather meagre in currency values as of the moment. The below lists corresponds with the below amounts in sequence:
A -ANNUAL BASIC SALARY FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS (FEDERAL AND STATE)
Category Annual Basic Salary N
Chief Justice of Nigeria 3,363,972.50.
Justice of the Supreme Court 2,477,110.00.
President of the Court of Appeal 2,477,110.00.
Justice of the Court of Appeal 1,995,430.18.
Chief Judge of the Federal High Court 1,995,430.18.
Chief Judge of the F.C.T. 1,995,430.18.
President National Industrial Court 1,995,430.18.
Judge of the Federal High Court 1,804,740.00.
Judge National Industrial Court 1,804,740.00.
Judge of F.C.T. High Court 1.804,740.00.
Grand Kadi F.C.T Sharia Court of Appeal 1,995,430.18.
President F.C.T Customary Court of Appeal 1,995,430.18.
Kadi Sharia Court of Appeal F.C.T 1,804,740.00.
Judge F.C.T Customary Court of Appeal 1,804,740.00.
Chief Judge of State 1,995,430.18.
Judge of State High Court 1,804,740.00
Grand Kadi State Sharia Court of Appeal 1,995,430.18.
President State Customary Court of Appeal 1,995,430.18.
Kadi State Sharia Court of Appeal 1,804,740.00.
Judge State Customary Court of Appeal 1,804,740.00.
Therefore, and finally, from the above lists, and having regards to the current fall in the Nigerian Naira currency, it is my humble recommendation that judges’ emoluments should be in USA Dollars currency rather than in the Nigerian Naira’s Currency since from the current events, it does not seem that the National Assembly will always be ready and or concerned to amend the laws on judicial officers’ salaries and emoluments, thereby making the Nigerian judges to suffer economically!