Chief Afe Babalola, has opined that the official retirement age for Supreme Court Justices should be pushed to 100 years from 70 years.
Tunde Olofintila, the Director, Corporate Information of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday issued a statement that was in favour of the increasing of the retiring age for players.
The statement read: “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 whopping 103 years in other climes.”
“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 US 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,”
“I know from experience that the best judges are those who have been inactive litigation, who have interacted with clients, who have drafted claims and pleadings and who have addressed legal issues at a 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 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.