The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has given knocks to the National Judicial Council(NJC) and the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria(JUSUN) for not including a better remuneration for judicial officers in their negotiations with the Federal Government.
The governor also noted that the groups also did not raise the issues in the quest for autonomy for the judiciary.
The governor’s comment came while swearing-in John Adeyeye as the new Acting Chief Judge of the state on Monday in Ado Ekiti.
Mr Adeyeye was appointed to replace Ayodeji Daramola, who retired from the bench last week.
The governor regretted how the review of judicial staff salaries and allowances was neglected by both groups in their negotiations with the Federal and State governments.
“I am aware that between 1999 till date, the Federal Government reviewed the salaries and allowances of Public Servants and Political office holders on four occasions specifically in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2011,” he said.
“However, the salaries of judicial officers were only reviewed twice during the same period. As a result judicial officers have been on the same salary structure for more than 10 years. It may now be necessary for the NJC to provide leadership on possible renewed negotiations on this issue as part of a holistic discussion on judicial autonomy.”
Mr Fayemi also called on the newly appointed Chief Judge of the state to direct his efforts towards dealing with the scourge of sexual violence in the state.
“Your Lordship is uniquely positioned to have observed in recent times the increase in matters of rape and child defilement in our courts,” said the governor.
“My administration has enacted laws and enabled several policies aimed at reversing this scourge.
“Among others, we have opened a register for sex offenders and we now publicly name and shame convicted sex offenders.
“I know that achieving conviction of a sex offender is the outcome of proper investigation and diligent prosecution.
“Strengthening and supporting the capacity of the Nigeria Police and the Ministry of Justice to enable sustainable convictions of sex offenders are priority goals of our zero tolerance policy against all forms of sexual violence.
“Permit me my Lords to add that the Judiciary also have an important role in our advocacy against sexual violence. Indeed My Lords, if there was ever a time when judicial activism is required on any matter, that time is now.
“I am respectfully of the opinion that our courts can and should go beyond the applicable law to consider the broader societal implications of its decisions in matters of sexual violence in this state.
“I strongly urge Your Lordships to review the rules and court procedures in a manner that will ensure the prioritisation and speedy consideration of matters of sexual violence.”
Mr Fayemi, however, lauded the contributions of the retired Chief Judge to the development of the justice sector in Ekiti State.
“It is incontrovertible, the judiciary cannot uphold the rule of law or administer justice in splendid isolation,” he said.
“The rule of law is underpinned by a partnership among the three arms of government. The Executive and legislature must provide the resources, financial and administrative, necessary to maintain the judicial system”.
Mr Fayemi stated that Mr Adeyeye is coming into office at a time when action must be braced up on how to implement the joint agreement on financial autonomy for the state judiciary between the State Government, the NJC and JUSUN.
“The content of the Memorandum of Action requires that the three arms of government achieve a seamless implementation framework that is not only sustainable but is able to respond to the specific needs of the judiciary in this state,” he added.
Mr Daramola, in his valedictory address, had lampooned the government for neglecting judicial officers and paying lip service to their welfare.
He had called on the state and federal government to review the salaries and emoluments of judicial officers to motivate them better performance.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...