Non-Payment Of Retired Judicial Staff Entitlements; Senate Set To Carry Out Investigation
The Red Chamber has instructed its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to inquire the non-payment of all entitlements of retired judicial officers who served states’ governments in the country.
The committee has also been ordered to report back to the house within the next one month.
The instruction was a result of a motion moved by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu) at plenary in Abuja.
The committee was also instructed to review the laws delaying the harmonisation of the processes and immediate payment of retirement benefits of all judicial workers in the country.
National Judicial Council (NJC) was also asked to harmonise the payment of judicial workers in order for the council to kick-start immediate payment.
According to the Presenter of the motion, Utazi. Former Chief Judge of Anambra, Justice Godwin Ononiba, had in December, 2016, led 31 other retired judges to sue the state governor for non-payment of their entitlements.
In his words, “The Constitution deliberately placed the salaries of Federal and State judicial officers as first-line charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund as a way of securing the independence of the judiciary”.
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He, however, laments that “It is disturbing that while salaries are routed through NJC, retirement benefits of state judicial officers of superior courts of record as recognised by Section 6 of the Constitution were left to states”.
He added that, “This has created a situation where retired state judges are left to their fate as state governments rarely make payments as and when due’’.
According to Utazi, it is very important for the matter to be attended to immediately as this would boost the fight against corruption which is being campaigned for by Buhari’s government.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, however, raised the motion and present it to the house and it was unanimously agreed for the investigation to be carried.