President Bola Tinubu on Thursday has signed into law the bill on uniform retirement age for judicial officers.
In a statement by Abiodun Oladunjoye, state house director of information, the president pledged that his administration would strengthen the judiciary and empower judicial officers.
The bill, titled: “Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (fifth altercation) (No.37) bill, 2023”, was the first to be signed by President Tibunu since taking the oath of office on May 29.
The law extends the retirement age of high court judges — and others — from 65 to 70 years.
The retirement age of justices of the appeal and supreme courts is already pegged at 70.
The legislation also ensured uniformity in the pension rights of judicial officers of “superior courts of record” specified in section 6(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
On May 2, the national assembly directed Amos Ojo, its clerk, to transmit the bill to former President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
However, Abubakar Malami, the immediate past attorney-general of the federation, advised 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, ambiguous”, adding that it made no “justification” for the extension of retirement age and benefits for judges.
The former AGF said the bill if approved, may lead to further agitation for the extension of the retirement age of justices of the supreme court and court of appeal.