Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court in Abuja has ordered the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to immediately put in place a machinery to start the upward review of salaries to some judicial officers.
The judge gave the ruling on Thursday in a case filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastian Hon. The Senior Advocate had approached the court to seek a salary increase for Nigerian judges.
In his ruling, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae also ordered an upward review of the salaries of the affected judicial workers every year or at most every two years.
He also awarded a five hundred thousand judgement cost, in favour of the claimant, to be paid by the first, second, and third respondents
The court also holds that there is abundant evidence to support the claims that the current salaries of judges and justices, which were last reviewed in 2008 no longer reflect modern realities, owing to the devaluation of the naira, exchange rate, and the general economic downturn.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae also held that the first defendant (RMAFC) has failed to use its Constitutional powers to review the earnings of these judicial officers, 14 years after the last review was done in 2008.
The court describes negligence, the refusal, and failure of the RMAFC to do its work since 2008.
She held that the negligence impoverished the judicial officers, and subjected them to embarrassment, describing the situation as a national shame.
Before ruling on the case, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae ruled on the issue of jurisdiction, holding that the claimant has shown sufficient reason and thus has jurisdiction over the claims.
The case had progressed at the court after earlier efforts by the National Assembly and the National Judicial Council to have an out-of-court settlement failed.