The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has been alleged to be junketing abroad for workshops with his wife, children and backroom staff while blocking other justices of the Supreme Court from overseas training.
In a protest memo sent to the CJN by the angry Supreme Court judges, the justices demanded to know what had happened to their legitimate entitlements under Tanko.
The justices of the apex court in Nigeria said their annual foreign training, meant to enhance capacity building for the country’s judicial process, had been blocked by Tanko.
News Direct had on June 14 reported that the judges also protested over poor welfare packages which they claimed had hindered their jobs.
The apex court, they said, has been receiving N110 billion yearly since 2018 despite the increase in its size and responsibilities.
In their letter, the main issues put forward by the justices in their letter through a welfare committee were; non-replacement of poor vehicles; accommodation problem; lack of drugs at the Supreme Court clinic; epileptic electricity supply to the Supreme Court; increase in electricity tariff; no increase in the allowances for diesel; lack of internet services to residences and chambers.
Others are; internal problems including non-signing of amended Rules of Court for almost three years; sudden stoppage of two to three foreign workshops and training per annum for Justices; and no provision of qualified legal assistants.
In the same memo, fresh details emerged where the judges accused the CJN, Tanko of junketing abroad with his wife, children, and cronies while denying them (justices) from doing the same.
According to Peoples Gazette, the memo read, “In the past, justices were nominated to attend two to three foreign workshops or training per annum with accompanying persons for reasons of age. Since your Lordship’s assumption of office, Justices only attend two workshops in Dubai and Zanzibar. They were not accorded the privilege of travelling with accompanying persons as was the practice.”
The justices added, “Your Lordship totally ignored this demand and yet travelled with your spouse, children, and personal staff. We demand to know what has become our training funds, have they been diverted, or it’s a plain denial.”
While demanding to know what had happened to their entitlement, they complained that their welfare under the leadership of Tanko was appalling.
According to them, in the past, justices of the Supreme Court were nominated to attend more than two workshops per annum abroad with an accompanying person for reasons of age conditions.
But since the assumption of office of Tanko, the aggrieved justices said they had only attended training twice in Dubai and Zanzibar.
They added that even with the two trainings, the few justices allowed to travel, the CJN blocked them from travelling with their families.
“Your Lordship may also remember that the National Assembly has increased the budgetary allocation of the judiciary. We find it strange that in spite of the upward review of budgetary allocation, the court cannot cater for our legitimate entitlement. This is unacceptable,” added the aggrieved justices in the letter.
The justices berated Tanko further, saying his weak leadership had drastically deteriorated the standards known with the nation’s highest court.