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Pay judges more, cut Buhari, govs, lawmakers’ jumbo allowances, SERAP tells RMAFC

Pay judges more, cut Buhari, govs, lawmakers’ jumbo allowances, SERAP tells RMAFC

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Engr. Elias Mbam, Chairman, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to “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.”

SERAP also urged him “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 followed 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.

In the letter dated 10 April 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “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.”

SERAP expressed concern that: “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.”

SERAP said: “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.”

According to SERAP, “While the remuneration and allowances of judges are grossly insufficient to enable them to maintain themselves and their families in reasonable comfort, high-ranking political office-holders continue to enjoy lavish allowances, including life pensions, and access to security votes, which they have powers to spend as they wish.”

The letter, read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows the huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office-holders.”

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office-holders such as the President, Vice-President, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.”

“Although one of the three coordinate branches of the government, the judiciary is treated with contempt, and considered so unimportant by the pollical class that authorities over the years have refused to pay them reasonable remuneration and allowances.”

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

“Despite their important roles and responsibilities, Nigerian judges are poorly treated when their remuneration, salaries, allowances, and conditions of service are compared with political office-holders.”

“Judges should not have to endure the most poignant financial worries. The increase in the cost of living and the injustice of inadequate salaries bears heavily on judges, as it undermines their ability to effectively perform their judicial functions.”

“The roles and functions performed by judges across the country are second to none in their importance including in facilitating access of victims of corruption and human rights violations to justice and effective remedies.”

“Far-reaching questions of constitutional law depend upon them for solution. Judges are also required to determine issues, which profoundly affect the rights and well-being of the people.”

“The meaning and effect of anti-corruption legislation and treaties such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] Act, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption depend upon their learning, wisdom and judgment.”

“The stability of the country’s system of government, a government of laws rather than of men, depending as it does to so great an extent upon the confidence and respect of the people for those who, as judges, hold the scales of justice in their hands, depends upon the character and the wisdom of these men and women.”

“The RMAFC has the powers under paragraph n, Third Schedule, Part 1 of the Nigerian Constitution to determine the remuneration, salaries and allowances appropriate for judges and political office holders, consistent with sections 84 and 124 of the Constitution.”

“SERAP notes that Nigerian authorities between May 1999 and March 2011 reviewed upward the salaries and allowances of political office holders at least on four occasions. However, the salaries and allowances of judicial officers were only reviewed twice during the same period.”

“Nigerian government and the RMAFC have the duty to provide adequate resources to enable the judiciary to properly perform its functions.”

“As a safeguard of judicial independence, the courts’ budget ought to be prepared in collaboration with the judiciary having regard to the needs and requirements of judicial administration. Furthermore, the remuneration and pensions of judges must be secured by law at an adequate level that is consistent with their status and is sufficient to safeguard against conflict of interest and corruption.”

“Nigerians would continue to be denied access to justice, to a better judiciary and a better administration of justice until judges across the country are paid what they deserve.”

“SERAP urges you and the RMAFC to separate the review of remuneration and salaries for judges from that of political office-holders. This would ensure fairness, and that judges receive the justice they so conscientiously dispense to others.”

The letter is copied to Dr Ahmad Lawan, Senate President; Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives; Mr Ekpo Nta, Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC); and the National Judicial Council.

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

11/4/2021

Lagos, Nigeria

Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org

Twitter: @SERAPNigeria

Website: www.serap-nigeria.org

For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

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SPCC Old Boys Association lists achievements

SPCC Old Boys Association lists achievements

· Announces New Date for 70TH anniversary celebration

‘’The 70th Anniversary Celebration of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe, Delta State will begin on Friday, October 2021’’ the Old Boys Association said Saturday.

At an emergency meeting in Aghalokpe, the National Executive Committee announced Friday, October 15 to Sunday, October 17, 2021 as the new date of the 70th anniversary celebration.

‘’The decision was taken to safeguard the well-being of all’’ a statement issued in Aghalokpe, Okpe Local Government by the chairman of the 70th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Chief Kingsley Omokri, said.

‘’A comprehensive programme for the event will be released by the Anniversary Committee’’ the statement said.

The statement listed the building of a college gate and modern gate house, interlocking of the college roads, rehabilitation of all the college laboratories, senior staff quarters, the principal’s quarters and construction of a brand new IT Centre as ongoing projects of the SPCC Old Boys Association.

The statement pointed out that the Old Boys Association in recent past rehabilitated the college hall, junior staff quarters, chapel and the college administrative building (principal’s office, staff room and library),

The 70th anniversary will be attended by top government functionaries, religious leaders, traditional rulers and members of the organized private sector.

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Youths restate Niger Delta support for Buhari, Akpabio


Youths in the Niger Delta region on Tuesday endorsed the current drive by the Federal Government to eradicate corruption in the country.

They also said the Federal Government had started well in the Niger Delta region by approving auditors for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

‘’It requires time to complete the forensic audit’’ the youths said.

At a meeting of the Niger Delta Youth Forum (NDYF) in Calabar, the youths praised President Muhammadu Buhari for opting to entrust the affairs of the Niger Delta Ministry on Chief Godswill Akpabio.

‘’We are grateful to Mr. President for the perspicacious judgement’’

Particularly, the youths praised the Federal Government for giving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) new and strategic direction aimed at achieving viable development in the oil rich region.

‘’President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Godswill Akpabio deserve our commendation for the changes so far in the oil rich Niger Delta region’’ the youths said.

The youths in a statement signed by NDYF Chairperson, Dr. Roseline Umoh, defended the administration’s role in appointing a sole administrator for the interventionist agency.

The youths explained that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had a minister who is committed to doing things right.

They underscored Akpabio’s long trail of legacies in Akwa Ibom State, his inspiring leadership in the Senate and the effort he was making to develop the oil rich region.

The youths enjoined South-South governors to cooperate with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and give him the needed support for success.

They advised the governors to be patient with the Federal Government.

The youths also called for greater understanding amongst all stakeholders in the region.

‘’We must not set roadblocks before ourselves. We must unite. The harmony which has now been achieved between the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the National Assembly is here to stay’’

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ECA and UNCTAD jointly hosting event to discuss women’s role in cross-border trade in Africa

ECA and UNCTAD jointly hosting event to discuss women’s role in cross-border trade in Africa

Addis Ababa, 15 March 2021, ECA – The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are jointly organizing a webinar on Wednesday 17 March to discuss women’s role in small-scale cross-border trade in Africa.

The virtual event istaking place on the sidelines of the 65thCommission on the Status of Women (CSW), the main global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The topic for discussion is the future for women’s small-scale and informal cross-border traders in Africa, and it comes in response to the global health crisis, as countries in Africa introduced restrictive measures affecting the movement of people and merchandise.

“As has been the case with other shocks, women risk bearing the brunt of this pandemic,” the organizers said, adding: “A more tailored package of measures is needed.”

Speakers to discuss the topic are: Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Divisionof the ECA; Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Programme, UNCTAD; Nomagugu Ncube, Chief of Mission of International Organization for Migration in Zambia; Mariana Lopez, Senior Manager GSMA Connected Women Programme; and Goodson Mbewe, President of Cross-border Traders Association of Zambia.

Nadira Bayat, a gender and trade expert at the ECA will be moderating at the session.

 

Issued by:

Communications Section

Economic Commission for Africa

PO Box 3001

Addis Ababa

Ethiopia

Tel: +21 11 51 5826

E-mail: eca-info@un.org

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WE’RE GLAD ELECTIONS WENT WELL IN REPUBLIC OF NIGER, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI, AS HE RECEIVES REPORT FROM FORMER VP, NAMADI SAMBO

WE’RE GLAD ELECTIONS WENT WELL IN REPUBLIC OF NIGER, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI, AS HE RECEIVES REPORT FROM FORMER VP, NAMADI SAMBO

Nigeria shares more than 1,400 kilometres of border with Republic of Niger, and we should be concerned about the stability of that country, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The President spoke Monday at State House, Abuja, while receiving a report on the elections in the neighbouring country from former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who is ECOWAS Head of Mission on the election in Republic of Niger.
“We are concerned about their stability, and I am glad the elections went well. I am happy it was transparent, as attested to by most of the observers,” President Buhari said.
He congratulated Architect Sambo and his team for a job well done, stating; “I am glad you came back with good news.”
The ECOWAS Head of Mission on the election said he met with all the stakeholders before the polls, which went into run-off after the initial exercise in December last year was inconclusive, “and we observed about 400 polling units in five regions of the country, and the process was peaceful, done professionally. Every citizen was given the right to vote and be voted for.”
The candidate of the ruling party was announced by the electoral body as having won more than 50% of the votes, a decision disputed by the opposition candidate, who has now approached the constitutional court for redress. It is the court which has powers to declare a winner in an election, according to the Constitution of Republic of Niger.
Former Vice President Sambo described the election as “a great improvement on that of December 27 last year,” and thanked President Buhari for facilitating the transportation needs of his team.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
March 8, 2021