A former member of the House of Representatives, Onofiok Luke, on Thursday, asked the Federal Government (FG) to urgently address the deficit in the number of Supreme Court justices.
Onofiok, who chaired the house committee on the judiciary in the ninth National Assembly, congratulated the seven justices of the appeal court sworn into office on Wednesday.
The former lawmaker described the elevation of the justices as well deserved because of their competence, hard work, dedication and steadfastness to the law.
According to him, the decrease in the number of justices of the Supreme Court has “taken a toll on the administration and delivery of justice.
He added that it has stalled the determination of matters of great importance with adverse effects on businesses and transactions.
Following the death of Justice Chima Centus Nweze who died in July, the number justices at the supreme court was reduced to 12, as against the maximum requirement of 21.
The situation, he said, “impacts negatively on the physical and mental well-being of the justices of the court.”
While asking the Federal Government to appoint new justices to the bench for “smooth, effective and efficient justice delivery,” the former legislator also asked the government to review the remuneration of judicial officers, noting that the current pay is “quite poor and in total disparity with the economic realities.”
“The removal of fuel subsidy has shot up the prices of goods and services, while the remuneration package for judicial officers remains the same.
“We expect them to be above aboard and ensure justice is done in every matter before them even if the heaven falls. It is unfair, to say the least.
“I, therefore, appeal to the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, look into the remuneration and welfare of the judiciary and ensure that judicial officers are adequately remunerated and compensated in the face of their increasing workload and in line with the current economic realities,” he added.