OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has resolved to summon the Accountant General of the Federal over the non-implementation of first line charge for disbursement of funds appropriated for the judiciary.
The decision followed a motion moved by Kazaure Gudaje (APC, Jigawa) during Thursday’s plenary, entitled, ‘Motion on urgent need for the federal government to revisit the salaries and entitlements of Nigerian judges both in the Federal and state level.’
Moving the motion, Kazaure stated while the executive and legislature are enjoying this privilege, the judiciary has been left out.
It would be recalled that the judiciary at the state level has also been granted first line charge by the new constitutional amendment.
Kazure said: “Constitutionally the three arms of government are listed in the first line charges, but unfortunately while the Executive and Legislature are enjoying their constitutional right of first line charge but the judiciary is sidelined.”
The lawmaker in his debate compared the earning of a United Kingdom judge and a Nigerian judge, blaming the prevalence of corruption on low wages.
“I want to draw your attention to the fact that the salary of Judge in England is 9,000 pounds which is equivalent to 5,000,000.00 naira in Nigeria, this is one of the reason why there is no corruption in their judiciary, but in Nigeria a salary of the high court judge is 400,000.00 naira and even the justices of the supreme court did not earn up-to 1,000,000 naira per month.
“Available record has shown the last time salary of judges were increased was ten years ago in 2008 and in term of allowances the judges in Nigeria only get furniture allowance of 4,000,000.00 naira after every four years, so if we really need to eradicate corruption in the judiciary and go to the next level, the government must take good care of judges.
“If you consider the cases they are handling most especially in financial crime they are hearing amount missing from the treasury like story because they are surprised where the monies come from, they hear about billions missing in dollar why their salary cannot feed and educate their families talkless of health so how do you complain about some few of them that are accused of corruption?
Speaking on the motion, Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) urged the House to reject the motion, arguing that “since the funds of judiciary are from the first line charge, what they do with their money is no body’s business.”
The speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila noted in response to Ossai that the essence of the motion is to investigate the first line charge, added that the “first line charge are most times on paper, so the motion is only to investigate the matter.”
The House consequently resolved to “mandate an adhoc committee and invite the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilisation Commission, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ministry of Justice to appear before the adhoc committee to make sure the first line charge provision for the judiciary is funded directly from the Federation’s Account into their designated account”