***As Buhari raises budgetary allocation from N120billion to N150billion
The National Assembly’s joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, has made case for better welfare packages for Judicial Officers .
The Executive Secretary of National Judicial Council (NJC).Mr Ahmed Gambo Saleh made the request for better welfare packages for Judicial Officers from the National Assembly on Friday in Abuja during 2023 budget defence session they with with the joint committee on behalf of the Judiciary which had increase of N30billion to N120billion annual allocation .
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele ( APC Ekiti Central ) who made the request , hinged it on his leaked Memo from Justices of Supreme Court bordering on poor welfare packages few months ago.
He said the increament from N120 billion to N150 for the Judiciary is not enough to cater for welfare of various stakeholders in the arm of 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..
“Wth the N150 billion budget proposal for 2023 fiscal year against N120billion 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 before the joint Committee, Ahmed Saleh lamented that though the NJC has been able to assess 80 percent of 2022 budget, the inflation rate in the county had adverse effects on the budget performance of the Judicial Council in the country.
He disclosed that based on prevailing challenges facing the NJC, the budget proposal submitted to the Ministry of Finance, was N338 billion, but the council was given the envelope of N150 billion.
“Although there is an increase of N30 billion in the budget compared to last year budget of N120 billion, but in the real sense of it there is no serious increase in the budget considering the level of inflation in the country.
“The appropriation for the judiciary in this subsisting fiscal year is N120 billion. It is gratifying that out of this sum we are so far able to assess 80 per cent of the fund.
“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 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 milestone”, he said .