Judicial officers in the service of the Federal government may have started getting their salaries, four months after they received their last pay cheque. Gavel International investigations revealed that judicial officers in the service of the Federal Judicial Service Commission received their salaries last in August 2015.
Officers affected include Justices of the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and judges of the Federal High Court. Also workers in the judiciary under the auspices of the Judicial Staff Association of Nigeria (JUSAN) were affected. Workers of the National Industrial Court, and other agencies and commissions under the Federal judiciary were also affected.
As at Wednesday, December 9, 2015, a staff who spoke to Gavel International on condition of anonymity said that Federal High Court workers, including the judges have not received their salaries in four months. “I can tell you authoritatively that as i talk to you, no staff of the Federal High Court across the country has received their salaries in the last four months. The reason they gave to us was that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy affected the payment of our salaries”, he said.
Another staff said that they were told that they experienced salary delay because government was working on total independence of the judiciary, including fiscal independence. Whatever may be the cause, the fact remains that Federal judicial officers were not paid for four months.
When contacted, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr Augustine Alegeh confirmed that the judicial staff salaries were delayed but insisted that the National Judicial Council (NJC) had started payment of salaries on Monday December 7, 2015. Alegeh who said he was involved in the negotiation with JUSAN negotiations insisted that payment of judicial officers is currently going on.
When told that Federal High Court workers had not been paid as at Wednesday morning, he said: “They should go and check their banks, or may be they have other problems. The fact remains that they have started payment. I was aware when money entered NJC, I am also aware when they started payment”, he concluded.