54 lawyers drag NASS, others to court over judges’ poor salaries
Chief Sebastien Tar, SAN, has dragged the National Assembly and three others before the National Industrial Court over poor salaries for judges.
Tar, the claimant, during Monday’s proceeding had in his team of counsel 32 SANs referred to as learned silk and 22 learned counsel.
S.A Awomolo led the other SANs in the matter slated for mention before Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae.
Other counsel were Kanu Agabi, J.B Daudu, E.C Ukala ,Emeka Ngige, Rabana Lawan, Mike Ozekhome, Taiwo Taiwo, Hassan Liman, Peter Apeh, Ogwu Onoja, Offiong Bassey Offiong.
Others were Usman Sule, Olumiwa Akonboro, Emeka Ejiaba, Chukwuma Ekomaru, Godwin Obla, Gordy Uche, Anthony Malik, E.K Asiaka, F.K Idepefo, J.O Asoluka, Harris Ogbole.
Musa, Mose Ebute, Reuben Atabo, T.D Pepe, Alex Ejesieme, Henry Akunebu, A.T Kehinde, Ibrahim Bawa, J.J Usman, Matter Bukar and Audu Anuga.
Edward Erhinure led the team of 21 other lawyers in the matter.
On the other hand, joined as defendants are the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and National Judicial Commission (NJC), as second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
When the matter came up, Awomolo informed the court that all the defendants had been served with processes and that they were ready to proceed.
He however stated that the counsel to the first defendant, Charles Yiola had earlier in the court informed him of the possibility of settlement.
Yiola on his part submitted that the only document he had seen in the matter was the hearing notice they got in connection to Monday’s court sitting.
The judge after going through the court’s record told him that proof of service of the originating summon served on May 6 was in the file
Yiola further said that he had been told to mention to the claimant to be patient as NASS was ready to look into the matter for possible settlement.
Awomolo in response said that the matter was of national importance and not a matter to be adjourned and adjourned indefinitely.
He therefore urged the court for a week adjournment to enable parties to discuss, agree or disagree and come back to court for either report of settlement or hearing of the originating summon.
Yiola replied that a week was short as NASS was embarking on industrial action Monday and he needed time to make a presentation to NASS for its adoption.
The judge therefore adjourned the matter until June 22, for report of settlement or hearing of the originating summon.
She also directed that hearing notice should be served on the second, third and fourth defendants who were not in court, neither their legal representation.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the claimant in his statement of facts stated that he was called to bar in 1991 and elevated to the inner Bar in 2008.
NAN also reports that Tar said 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.
He however affirmed that the salaries and allowances paid the justices and judges of these court’s is too poor for him, given the current socio-economic realities.
The senior advocate 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”, Tar said.
Having stated the reasons for instituting the suit, the first claimant is seeking for some declarative prayers and order of the court amongst others.
He is praying for an order of mandatory injunctions compelling the defendants to forthwith, put in place or activate legal and administrative machineries to commence payment to the justices and judges.
He is further urging the court to grant a commensurate salaries and other emoluments to be reasonable, having regard to the existing socio- economic and other factors.
He is therefore proposing a minimum monthly salary of N12 million for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
While for each justices of Supreme Court, a minimum monthly salary of N11 million.
For President of the Court of Appeal, Tar is proposing N11 million and for each of the justice of the same court, a minimum monthly salary of N10 million.
For Chief Judge of Federal High Court, the first claimant is proposing N10 million as the monthly salary, while for each judge of the same court, he penciled down the sum of N8 million to be their monthly take home.
As for the president of the National Industrial Court and each of the judges of the same court, a minimum monthly salary of N10 million and N9 million respectively is been proposed by Tar.
Chief Judge of each State High Court, a minimum monthly salary of N8 million and N7 million for each judge of the same court
The first claimant in addition stated that the Chief Judge of the FCT minimum monthly salary should be N8 million and N7 million for each judge of the same court.
He is also praying for N8 million as minimum monthly salary for the Grand Khadi of Sharia Court and N8 million for the Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the FCT and N7 million for the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT.
The justices and judges currently earns about N2 million and below as their minimum monthly salaries. (NAN)