PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu on Thursday, June 8, assented to a bill to increase the retirement age of judicial officers in the country to 70 years.
A statement released by the State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye, said the President pledged that his administration would strengthen the judiciary and empower judicial officers.
Titled ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alteration Bill No. 20 (Uniform Retirement Age for Judicial Officers), 2023’, the bill became the first to be signed into law by Tinubu since he assumed office on May 29.
Although legislation already pegged the retirement age of justices of the appeal and supreme courts at 70, the law as well extended the retirement age of High Court judges from 65 to 70 years.
The legislation will as well make uniform the pension rights of judicial officers of “superior courts of record” specified in Section 6(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The National Assembly had earlier directed its Clerk, Amos Ojo, to transmit the Constitution Alteration Bill 20 which approves a uniform retirement age for judicial officers in Nigeria to the President for assent on Tuesday, May 2.
However, TheCable reported that the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, advised former President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the bill.
In a memo dated May 23 and addressed to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malami said the bill appeared to be “far-reaching, unduly wide” and “ambiguous”, adding that it made no “justification” for the extension of retirement age and benefits for judges.
He further disclosed that the approval could lead to further agitation for the extension of the retirement age of justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.