Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has asked the National Assembly to alter the Constitution and mandate the National Judicial Council (NJC) to fix and review judges’ salaries every four years.
Justice Ibrahim said this in a paper he presented as some of his recommendations of the judiciary on the occasion of the national public hearing by the Senate Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution held in Abuja.
His 17-page paper to the Senate committee contained about 45 constitutional amendment proposals on reforms in the Nigerian judiciary and was titled,
‘Input by the Judiciary to the Proposed Alteration to the 1999 Constitution (as Amended)’’,
In item 38 of the paper, Ibrahim requested that the first part of the Third Schedule Paragraph 21 to the Constitution be altered to include sub-paragraph ‘h’ to the effect that NJC should in his written statement,
“Fix, in conjunction with Salaries and Wages Commission, salaries and other emoluments of judicial staff; in the case of judicial officers, to review such salaries no later than four years from the last exercise’’.
He also said that the constitution should categorically state that the CJN is the head of the judiciary of the Federation; just as he called for the Supreme Court Bench to be reduced from 21 to 16.
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) reviewed judges’ salary by the enactment of, ’’Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008’’ which came into force on February 1, 2007 under Section 84(1) of the Act.
Since this Act has not been reviewed with effect from 2008, judges’ salaries have remained the same for about 13 years.
Justice Ibrahim also asked that the constitution be amended for the NJC Secretary seat to be at par with that of the Clerk of the National Assembly.