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Rep seeks increase in military retirement age

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Retirement for officers will be 65, and the number of service years will be 40.

For a second reading, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would raise the age at which military personnel are required to retire. On Thursday, lawmakers discussed and ultimately approved a second reading of the bills put forward by Jonathan Gaza (SDP, Nasarawa) and seven others. In particular, the measure would change Section 30 of the Armed Forces Act to raise the age of retirement for officers from 60 to 65 and increase the number of service years from 35 to 40.

The proposed measure of legislation that is currently being considered aims to amend Section 30 by adding a new subsection four to the statute, which would propose the new retirement being discussed. According to the proposed subsection 4 of Section 30, irrespective of anything that goes against it in the Principal Act, the age of retirement for personnel of the Armed Forces will be 40 years of service or 65 years of age, whichever happens first.

Retired senior officers should be reengaged in service.

In the event that the bill is approved, the obligatory retirement age for members of the armed forces would see a new turn and would benefit the personnel. There is an additional provision that requests that section 18A of the principal Act be amended. The purpose of this section is to make provisions for the re-engagement of senior officers who have previously retired but are required to do so because of the appointment of service chiefs.

When a junior officer is promoted to the position of service chief, it is customary for older officers to resign to make room for the new chief. This is a long-standing practice in the military. It is generally accepted that senior military leaders will not follow commands given by their subordinates, especially junior officers. One of the proposals that this measure makes is that those retired officers should be engaged as advisors in training institutions that are held by the military.

Junior officers should learn from the senior wealth of knowledge.

Starting from the beginning of this bill, any high-ranking member of the Armed Forces who is called for to retire due to the appointment of an officer of a similar or lower rank as the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Army Staff, or Chief of Air Staff by the Federation President, shall be engaged by the Chief of Defence Staff to become senior technical consultants. Their role will be to prepare Armed Forces personnel in institutions such as the Armed Forces Staff College, Nigerian Defence College or similar establishments, as stated in the proposed section 18(A).

Speaking as the bill’s lead debater, Mr. Gaza explained that the objective of the bill is to allow senior military officers who are forced to retire after a junior officer is appointed as Chief of Defence Staff or Service Chiefs to share their wealth of knowledge as well as experience with their junior colleagues still serving in the military. After being put up for a vote by Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu, who was in charge of the session, the bill was successful in getting through its first reading for a second one.

Teachers also had a similar bill in their favour.

On the other hand, in January 2020, the federal government of Nigeria approved increasing the retirement age for teachers in the nation from 60 years to 65 years and increasing the number of years of service required for retirement from 35 years to 40 years. In June of that year, the bill was presented to the National Assembly by the president, Muhammadu Buhari, who was in office at the time. In April of 2022, the president gave his approval to the legislation after it had been passed through the House.

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