AGF Lateef Fagbemi Supports Proposed 300% Salary Increase for Judicial Officers

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, expressed his support for the proposed 300 percent increase in salaries and allowances for judicial office holders in Nigeria, as proposed by President Bola Tinubu. This endorsement came during a one-day public hearing on a bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Prescribe the Salaries and Allowances and Fringe Benefits of Judicial Office Holders in Nigeria and Related Matters, 2024,” organized by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters.

The public hearing, chaired by Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC – Borno North), also saw endorsements from the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMAFC), among other critical stakeholders.

In his presentation, Fagbemi highlighted the long-standing issue of stagnant judicial salaries, which have not changed in over 16 years. He remarked, “The Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) Bill 2024 is quite innovative. Aside from the increment in the basic salary, it also took cognizance of certain peculiarities of the administrative structure and operation of the judiciary.”

Fagbemi emphasized the importance of this bill in ensuring judicial independence and integrity. He stated, “This Bill will birth an appropriate and commensurate remuneration that will ensure judicial independence and integrity. The present-day but sad reality is that the judiciary has stagnated on the same salary scale for over 16 years; this is totally unacceptable and quite antithetical to any meaningful judicial reform.”

He strongly commended the bill to the Senate, urging its passage in the national interest of promoting the rule of law. “I strongly commend this Bill for your kind consideration and do urge the Senate to support and ensure the passage of this Bill in the national interest of promoting the rule of law,” he added.

Fagbemi also mentioned plans for a holistic review of the judicial system to better respond to the justice needs of Nigeria. He announced, “In consultation with the judiciary and other key stakeholders, we are also interested in ensuring a holistic review of our judicial system to respond to the justice needs of Nigeria. This is why I am taking immediate/urgent steps to establish a Working Group on the review of the Constitution and other relevant laws.”

This working group will focus on key provisions aimed at achieving a judiciary that responds to the evolving justice needs of Nigerians. “At the appropriate time, and I promise very soon, we will come up with proposals for Constitutional and Statutory reforms of the Judiciary in particular, and the Administration of the Justice System in general,” Fagbemi assured.

The proposed salary increment and the accompanying reforms are expected to significantly enhance the efficiency, independence, and integrity of the Nigerian judiciary, ultimately benefiting the country’s overall governance and rule of law.

Share this:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *