Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice told the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights and Legal Matters that his ministry paid N258m annually to 860 lawyers in the ministry as robe allowance.
Explaining how they spent the money during the 2022 budget defence, Mr Malami said each of the counsel was getting N300,000 annually.
According to a Punch report, Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue North-West), first raised concern about personnel cost in the ministry, demanding details of the total number of lawyers in the ministry.
The minister explained that the total number of lawyers in the ministry were about 860, adding that they were entitled to N300,000 each as robe allowance .
Mr Malami said, “860 lawyers are entitled to N300,000 annually as robe allowance,” the Minister said.
Mr Orker-Jev further asked the minister how often robe allowance was paid.
The minister responded that it was annual payment and that it was a tradition.
The senator who was surprised, said, “I used a robe more than 10 years.”
The chairman of the committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, however, explained that the money was paid to make the lawyers presentable in court.
“The money was paid to the lawyers to make sure that they are presentable in court,” Mr Bamidele said
The ministry proposed N11.8 bn for 2022 budget.
The personnel cost was N3.9bn, overhead cost (exclusive of legal services) – N2.4bn; legal services – N2bn and capital budget (N3.5bn).