Welfare packages: NASS seeks better offer for judiciary officers…Buhari increases allocation from N120bn to N150bn




President Muhammadu Buhari

The National Assembly through its joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters has demanded for better welfare packages for judiciary officers.

The request was made Friday in Abuja at the 2023 budget defence session when the executive secretary of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr. Ahmed Gambo Saleh, had an audience with the joint committee on behalf of the judiciary which had an increase of N30 billion to N120 billion annual allocation.

The chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central ), who tendered the request, hinged it on his leaked memo from Justices of the Supreme Court bordering on poor welfare packages a few months ago.

According to him, the increment of N120 billion to N150 billion for the judiciary is not enough to cater for the welfare of various stakeholders in that arm of the government.

He said, “We stand to consider the content of the leaked memo from the Justices of the Supreme Court as a wake-up call or clarion call to comprehensively address the welfare issues and well-being of judges, judicial officers and staff of the judiciary, as well as judicial apparatus and infrastructure of courts.

“Otherwise, poor working conditions and lack of the requisite welfare will affect the overall performance of the Nigerian Judiciary. I do hope the budget you are going to present before us today has addressed most of these salient issues.

“With the N150 billion budget proposal for 2023 fiscal year against N120 billion in the 2022 fiscal year , it is not yet Uhuru for the judiciary because the judiciary still needs much more than that to operate and be able to address adequately, the welfare of our judicial officers and staff of the judiciary.”

Earlier, in his submission, Ahmed Saleh lamented that though the NJC had been able to assess 80 per cent of the 2022 budget, the inflation rate in the county had adverse effects on the budget performance of the judicial council in the country.

“Although there is an increase of N30 billion in the budget compared to last year’s budget of N120 billion, in the real sense of it there is no serious increase in the budget considering the level of inflation in the country.

“Although there is an increase of N30 billion in the budget compared to last year’s budget of N120 billion, in the real sense of it there is no serious increase in the budget considering the level of inflation in the country.

“That notwithstanding, the current economic situation has adversely affected our budget implementation and performance because the subsisting budget was passed at a benchmark of N580 to a dollar as against over N700 it is now.

“If we need to achieve a milestone this year, we have to make an additional provision of over 20 per cent on the votes for us to be able to achieve that milestone,” he said.

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