The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, yesterday, backed the proposed 300 percent increase in the salaries and allowances of judicial office holders in the country by President Bola Tinubu.

The National Judicial Council (NJC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMAFC), among others, also endorsed the proposal.

The AGF, NBA, NJC, RMAFC and other critical stakeholders spoke during a one-day public hearing on a Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to Prescribe the Salaries and Allowances and Fringe Benefit of Judicial Office Holders in Nigeria and Related Matters, 2024.”

The public hearing was organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters chaired by Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC – Borno North).

Fagbemi, in his presentation, urged the committee to note that the efforts to improve the remuneration of judicial officers in the country has a chequered history.

“I wish to remark that the Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) Bill 2024, is quite innovative, aside from the increment in the basic salary, it also took cognisance of certain peculiarities of the administrative structure and operation of the judiciary.

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“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.

“I strongly commend this Bill for your kind consideration and urge the Senate to support and ensure the passage of this Bill in the national interest of promoting the rule of law.

“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. The working group will, among others, focus on the key provisions aimed at achieving the 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,” he stated.

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