By Wondrous Nnaemeka
The president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN, has reacted to comments credited to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN where he had said the judiciary should subject “themselves for scrutiny” of the budgetary allocation shared to the sector.
THE WHISTLER earlier reported that Malami, during the Justice Sector Summit 2022 organized by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and the Justice Research Institute (JRI) on January 25, 2022, said the judiciary has to “open its own book” like the other two arms of government so as to show more transparency in the utilization of budgetary allocation on its financial expenses.
The budgetary allocation for the justice sector in 2022 is N120 billion but judicial officers have maintained that the financial package for the judiciary in Nigeria is poor.
Speaking at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria’s 2022/2023 legal year on Wednesday, Maikyau said he has listened to the AGF and Minister of Justice in at least two occasions when he talked about the judiciary’s refusal to open its books.
He added that the executive and other arms of government including the NBA are aware that auditors are sent to all Federal Courts from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, implying the current president Muhammadu Buhari administration is in a position to know whether what has been given to the judiciary is either enough or not.
Meanwhile, he expressed willingness to sit with the AGF and look at the budgetary expenditures together and inform the public accordingly.
“We are ready to sit and let us all look at our books so we would also eventually, perhaps, tell the public, well, this is how much neglect that we have received and that is why we are not able to do things that we are expected to do.
“And so my lord, in doing that, I will also commend to my brother, the honorable AGF, that review that was submitted in 2018 on the Judicial Remuneration and Condition of Service,” he said.
Maikyau said it was embarrassing for the Supreme Court Justices to be earning N700, 000 monthly with the current inflation rate.
He emphasized that the condition of Service for judicial officers in Nigeria is smaller than what obtains within and outside Africa.
“My lord, 2018 to now, is 4 years, between January and now, the inflation that we experienced is mindboggling, we can’t even use the 2018 report as a basis but at least let us use it as a reference point to guide the activities that are ongoing and I salute the president and the AGF for that effort.
“So embarrassing was a revelation by a Justice of the Supreme Court that the salary of the justices of the apex court is 700,000 naira, less than 1000 US dollars.
“So embarrassing, and you walk into the chambers of any of the Justices or any of your lordship to see the volume of work that your lordships have to contend with.
“If we get 700,000 at the apex, I should not be talking about what your lordships earn at the end of every month but suffice it to say, the judiciary has been neglected over the years,” he added.
He praised the judges for their commitment to duty despite the poor working condition.
He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his AGF for promising to consider reviewing the financial package for the judiciary.
The post NBA Reacts To Malami’s Call For Public Scrutiny Of Judiciary Budget, Expenses is first published on The Whistler Newspaper
Source: The Whistler.