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Senate probes non-payment of pensions to state judges

The Senate has begun a probe into non-payment of all severance, gratuities and pensions arrears to retired state judicial officers by state governments.

Against this backdrop, the Senate yesterday mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to carry out a holistic investigation on the issues surrounding the non-payment of these entitlements and report back within four weeks.

The Senate also mandated the committee to review the laws impeding the harmonization of the processes and prompt payment of retirement benefits of all judicial officers in the country.

The upper chamber urged the National Judicial Council, NJC to harmonise the payment of retirement benefits of all judges of superior courts of records in the country as it had done with the salaries and emoluments of retired judicial officers listed in Section 6 of the Constitution.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North and entitled, “The plight of retired judges of state High Courts and the need to harmonise the process of paying the retirement benefits of all judges of superior courts of records in Nigeria.”

Presenting the motion, Senator Utazi said among others, that “The Senate: Recalls that sometime around December 2016, Hon. Justice Godwin Ononiba, retired Chief Judge of Anambra State leading 31 other retired Judges, sued the Governor of Anambra State, the National Industrial Court for non-payment of their severance gratuities, their pension and arrears of pension;

“Worried that the suit above is indicative and a reflection of the depressing plight of retired Judicial Officers, especially Judges of the State High Courts in Nigeria.’’

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