Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s top priority continues to be improving the pay and working conditions for judges.
Malami said this in his speech at the 2022 Court of Appeal Annual Legal Year, according to a release from Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“I wish to recall that one of the cardinal issues raised by the President of the Court of Appeal in Her Lordship’s address last year was the issue of the welfare of our meticulous and committed judicial officers,” he said
“The government of the day is not oblivious of this persistent challenge. Amidst our revenue challenges as a nation, coupled with various demand for wage increase, one certain assurance I can make to this noble gathering is that the improvement of the remuneration and conditions of service of our judicial officers is uppermost on the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, ” Malami said.
The Minister noted that the ongoing process of improving the welfare package of the judicial officers will be completed, in accordance with extant constitutional and statutory provisions.
He said the available appropriation figures also bear testament to the fact of a progressively upward review of annual budgetary appropriation to the judiciary under President Buhari.
He said while the budget of the Judiciary declined from N95billion in 2010 to N68billion in 2014, there was an upward swing in 2015 from N73billion to N120billion in 2022 (being the highest in the history of the judiciary).
He said the government also makes special budgetary provision to cater for special assignments associated with national elections.
“The Federal Government under the leadership of President Buhari will not rest on its oars in its quest for increased funding for the judiciary,” he said.
Malami commended the foresight of His Lordship, the President of the Court of Appeal in taking proactive steps towards an effective discharge of the onerous constitutional mandate over the outcome of elections.
He said these notable steps included engagement with relevant stakeholders, especially with the advent of the 2022 Electoral Act.
“I am also gladdened that His Lordship has inaugurated a 13-man Electoral Judicial Manual Committee (EJMC) that will see to the issuance of the Maiden Edition of the Electoral Judicial Manual, which will provide an operational framework and reference guide for the determination of election petitions.
The Manual, noted that, was expected to guide both the bar and the bench, with an added benefit of mitigating the problems associated with conflicting decisions.