The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to slash the pay of political office holders such as the President, Vice-President, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
SERAP made the call in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, the group announced in a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday.
The letter follows the nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government’s silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded courts across the country.
According to the civil society organisation, RMAFC should “urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian judges, and to review downward the remuneration and allowances of high-ranking political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of judges, and to improve access of victims of corruption to justice”.
It also urged Mbam “to send your review and recommendations to the National Assembly for appropriate remedial and legislative action, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended]”.
The letter read: “Judges should get all to which they are reasonably entitled, and it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat judges as ‘second-class people’ while high-ranking political office-holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
“The remuneration and allowances of judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as President, Vice-President, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
“Nigerian judges are among the least paid in the world. The poor treatment of judges is neither fair to them nor to the Nigerian people. Judges deserve remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service commensurate with their judicial powers and responsibilities.”
SERAP insisted that its request is in the public interest of the country, noting that it would take legal steps to compel the commission to implement its request should the recommended measures not be made public within 14 days from the receipt of the letter and/or statement.