“Pay Judges Their Salaries, Allowances Or Face Legal Action”, SERAP Tells FG

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him “to use your good offices and leadership to urgently instruct all appropriate authorities to release budgetary allocations for the immediate payment of outstanding salaries and allowances of judges and judicial workers across the country.”

In the letter dated 18 January 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that, “The Senate of Nigeria has disclosed that federal judges have not been paid their salaries and allowances for four months. SERAP is seriously concerned that failing to pay regularly and punctually the salaries and allowances of judges amounts to an implicit interference, and would seem to make judges dependent on the will of other branches of government, especially the executive, for the payment of their salaries.”

The organization said that, “Should all outstanding salaries and allowances of judges and judicial workers not immediately paid, SERAP will explore all legal avenues nationally and internationally to compel your government to uphold the cardinal principle of judicial independence by ensuring a policy of regular and punctual payment of salaries and allowances of judges and judicial workers.”

The letter reads in part: “SERAP notes that the independence of the judiciary has always been considered one of the important elements of the Nigerian constitutional system. This cardinal constitutional and international guarantee cannot be made to yield to any alleged economic necessity.”

“It is double jeopardy for our judges whose salaries and allowances are not regularly and punctually paid, as these judges may not, by reason of their calling, be able to personally challenge the matter in court. And the possibility of resolving the matter in a judicial proceeding may be limited since several judges have an interest in the matter, and may not therefore with propriety undertake to hear and decide it.”
“We also urge you to publicly commit and guarantee regular and timely payment of salaries and allowances of judges and judicial workers.”