The National Assembly has asked the court on Monday to allow for an out of court settlement in the suit instituted by Sebastien Hon (SAN) over poor salaries for judges.
Mr Hon was in court today with a team of 32 other senior advocates and 22 learned counsel for today’s proceeding.
The claimant stated that the reason for instituting the suit was because salaries and allowances paid to the justices and judges of the courts are too poor given the current socio-economic realities.
What happened in court
The matter was slated for mention today and when it came up, S.A, Awomolo claimant’s counsel, told the court that the defendants have been served with the processes and they were ready to proceed.
He informed the court that Charles Yiola, counsel to NASS had hinted at the possibility of settlement among parties.
Mr Yiola in turn informed the court that he had only seen the hearing notice and nothing else.
However, the judge responded saying that she had gone through the case file and proof of service of the originating summon served on May 6 was in the file
Mr Yiola said he was told to inform the claimant that NASS will look into the matter for possible settlement.
However, Mr Yiola in response said one week was not enough as NASS was embarking on industrial action on Monday and he needed time to make a presentation to NASS for its adoption.
Mr Awomolo, sought to argue the originating summons in the suit but the hearing could not proceed because of the absence of the other defendants.
The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission RMAFC, Attorney-General of the Federation AGF and the National Judicial Council NJC.
The presiding judge, Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae adjourned the matter until June 22, for a report of settlement or hearing of the originating summon.
She ordered that the hearing notice should be served on the defendants who were not in the court nor legal legally represented at today’s proceedings.
What the claimant said
- The claimant in his statement of facts said that he was called to bar in 1991 and elevated to the inner Bar in 2008. He submitted that he was aspiring to be appointed either a justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeal or at least a judge of the High Court.
- However, the salaries and allowances paid the justices and judges of these courts are too poor for him, given the current socio-economic realities.
- The justices and judges currently earn about N2 million and below as their minimum monthly salaries.
- He said “The poor mode of determining or reviewing such salaries and allowances is also scaring me from applying to be appointed to any of the Benches mentioned above.
- ”Even though I am ably and fittingly qualified to do apply and be appointed”.
- Consequently, he prayed for an order of mandatory injunctions compelling the defendants to forthwith, put in place or activate legal and administrative machinery to commence payment to the justices and judges.
- He prayed the court to grant commensurate salaries and other emoluments to be reasonable, having regard to the existing socio-economic and other factors.
- He proposed a minimum monthly salary of N12 million for the Chief Justice of Nigeria ( CJN) and N11 million for judges of Supreme Court.
- President of the Court of Appeal, N11 million and N10 million for each of the justice of the appellate court.
- For Chief Judge of Federal High Court, he proposed N10 million and. N8 million for the judges.
- He proposed N10 million for the president of the National Industrial Court and N9 million for each of the judges of the same court.
- Chief Judge of each State High Court, a minimum monthly salary of N8 million and N7 million for each judge of the same court.
- N8 million for the Chief Judge of the FCT high court and N7 million for each judge of the same court.