Industrial Court Set To Deliver Judgement On Judges Welfare Suit
Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court is set to deliver judgement on a suit about the welfare of judges in Abuja.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastian Hon, had approached the industrial court to seek a salary increase for Nigerian Judges.
Efforts by the National Assembly and the National Judicial Council to have an out-of-court settlement on the matter had failed.
Delivering her judgement, first on the issues of jurisdiction, the judge held that the claimant had shown sufficient reason and thus has jurisdiction over the claims.
On the argument by the third respondent (the AGF) that the process of salary increase must pass through negotiation with their employers, the court held that it is not permissible under any known law that justices and judges have to go into any form of negotiation with their employers for a salary increase as negotiation is incidental for workers unions, and judges and justices are not part of trade unionism.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae held that there is abundant evidence to support the claims that the current salaries of judges, which were last reviewed in 2008, no longer reflect modern realities.
According to her, this is owing to the devaluation of the naira, exchange rate and the general economic downturn.
While stating that the current pay pack for these judicial officers is now obsolete, the judge held that the first defendant (Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission) has failed to use its constitutional powers to review the earnings of judicial Officers, 14 years after the last review was done in 2008.
She described as negligence, the refusal and failure of the first defendant, RMAFC, to do their work since 2008, adding that this negligence has impoverished the judicial officers and subjected them to embarrassment.