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Afe Babalola proposes 100 years retirement age for Supreme Court justices

Afe Babalola proposes 100 years retirement age for Supreme Court justices

Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has proposed 100 years as retirement age for Supreme Court Justices from 70.

He made the call at the virtual launch of books in honour of Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour (retd) of the Supreme Court to mark his retirement from the bench on attaining 70.

He canvassed for a review of the age of retirement of judges, especially those of the Supreme Court Justice from the current 70 to 100 or more, if life service is not possible.

A statement by Tunde Olofintila, director, Corporate Information of  ABUAD quoted Babalola as saying: There is urgent need for reform of our judicial system. This is with particular regards to age of judges, most especially those at the Supreme Court.

“Experience has shown that a person becomes wiser and more experienced as he advances in age. Under our judicial system today, Justice Rhodes-Vivour is retiring at the age of 70 when he has not shown any sign of physical weakness and when Nigeria would have benefitted more from his wealth of wisdom, insight and experience.”A brief look at other countries shows that appointment to the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment.

“There is no age limit for a justice of the Supreme Court to retire. Often times, they stay as long as they probably can.

“In fact, many die while in office. But those who opt for retirement, the average age is 78 years. The average retirement age has grown a whooping 103 years in other climes”.

The founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, also advocated that under the review, retiring judges should be allowed to practice law.

“Even, if Judges are not allowed to return to full practice, there should be a measure of participation in law practice that will ensure their relevance in the nation’s development of law.

“I suggest that Nigeria should adopt the quasi-restrictive style, which is in operation in the U.S. whereby a sitting judge may recuse himself in the case of conflict of interest or allow retiring judges to prepare and draft pleadings, motions and appellate briefs”, he said.

On appointment of judges, he said the position of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, was important that it should not be based on promotion but strictly on merit.

“I know from experience that the best judges are those who have been in active litigation, who have interacted with clients, who have drafted claims and pleadings and who have addressed legal issues at different level of the courts.

“This is why in other climes, judges are chosen from seasoned legal practitioners. I recall the case of late Justice Teslim Olawale Elias, SAN.

“He was appointed as CJN and President, International Court of Justice. He was Attorney-General of the Federation when he was a Professor at the University of Lagos and was invited to the Supreme Court where he eventually became the CJN.

“I have always been an advocate of a new constitution to correct the ills inherent in the 1999 Constitution bequeathed to Nigerians by the Military and christened a people’s constitution.

“We truly need restructuring in this country today and that will assist us in many diverse ways as we as enable us have a truly federal constitution as a result of which there would be a change in the mode of election and the type of people we would elect to govern us.”


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Posted by on Apr 14 2021. Filed under Headlines, Judiciary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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