‘Kidnappers are terrorists,’ Tinubu declares

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President Tinubu and judicial officers during the dinner

President Bola Tinubu says individuals involved in kidnapping of innocent citizens must be treated as terrorists.

Tinubu, at a Ramadan dinner with members of the Federal Judiciary, also condemned the reprehensible acts perpetrated by kidnappers across the country

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Hosting the judicial officers, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the President reiterated government’s resolve to defeat banditry.

The dinner was also attended by serving and retired judicial officers, including two former CJNs, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and Justice Walter Onnoghen.

He said that those who resorted to kidnapping children are cowards, incapable of confronting the might of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

‘’We must treat kidnappers as terrorists. They are cowardly. They have been degraded. They look for soft targets. They go to schools and kidnap children and cause disaffection.

“We must treat them equally as terrorists in order to get rid of them, and I promise you we will get rid of them,’’ the President said.

On the review of salaries of judicial officers, Tinubu pledged that his administration would continue to implement necessary reforms to improve the welfare and working conditions of judicial officers.

‘’I recognize that the judiciary has one of the most unrewarded responsibilities. They are yet to modernise equipment and recordkeeping, and their progress towards improvement is slow.

‘’When you look at the career path of a judicial officer, they cannot practice the vocation for which they were trained after retirement.

‘’While the framers of the law may have their reasons, I perceive this differently and see this from a fair compensation angle that should benefit all,’’ the President said.

Tinubu expressed gratitude to the judiciary for its dedicated service to the nation, acknowledging its role in upholding the respectability of the judicial arm of government.

“We will continue to support one another and bring Nigeria to that glorious dawn,’’ the President stated.

Responding, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ariwoola, commended the President for hosting judicial officers to a Ramadan dinner, his commitment to judicial reforms, and for improving the welfare of judicial officers.

“May the Lord continue to bless you and your administration. Let your ship land and berth beautifully. We shall continue to pray for your administration because there are many good things in the pipeline for Nigerians,” he said.

Ariwoola commended the administration for achieving an unprecedented milestone by appointing a full complement of 21 justices to the Supreme Court.

Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, expressed gratitude to the President for forwarding the executive bill, titled, “Judicial Office Holders, Salaries and Allowances, etc, Bill 2024” to the National Assembly.

Highlighting the stagnant state of judges’ salaries and emoluments since 2007, Fagbemi commended the President’s courage, determination, and compassion in taking the decisive action.

‘’It takes a man with a great heart, determination, and consideration to do what the President did. More than 300.3 per cent salary increase has been given to the judges. The President has done his own part, never mind that the bill is still with the National Assembly.

‘’In my short stay as the Attorney-General, I have come to observe that anything that concerns the judiciary, you are very much interested in it, and I thank you for your abiding interest in the judiciary,’’ he said.

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