Legal icon, Afe Babalola (SAN) has stated that supreme court justices retirement age should be reviewed upwards from 70 to 100 years.
According to him, the justices become more experienced and wiser as they get older, hence, should be allowed to remain on the bench.
Afe Babalola made the call on Wednesday at the virtual launch of books in honour of Bode Rhodes-Vivour, a retired supreme court justice.
“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.”
He maintained that Justice Rhodes Vivour is retiring at a time when he still has the strength and shows no sign of weakness. He advocated for a Supreme Court with permanent appointment.
“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 chancellor of Afe Babalola University also advocated that 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,” he said.
“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.”
Babalola said the position of the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) should not be based on promotion but strictly on merit.
Source: The Cable