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House of Reps move to increase the retirement age of armed forces personnel to 65 years

A bill seeking to increase the retirement age of members of the armed forces has passed for second reading in the House of Representatives.

The consolidated bill, sponsored by Jonathan Gaza (SDP, Nasarawa), and seven others, was debated on Thursday and passed for a second reading.

The bill, among other things, seeks to amend Section 30 of the Armed Forces Act to increase the retirement age of the officers from 60 to 65 years and years in service from 35 to 40 years

The proposed legislation seeks to amend Section 30 by creating a new subsection four that proposes the new retirement.

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Principal Act, the age of retirement for members of the Armed Forces shall be 40 years of Service or 65 years of age whichever comes first,” the proposed Section 30 subsection (4).

If the bill is passed, members of the armed forces would retire at 65 years old or 40 years in service.

There is another section seeking amendment of section 18A of the principal Act. The section seeks to provide for the re-engagement of retired senior officers who are forced to retire due to the appointment of service chiefs.

Members of House of Representatives at Plenary [PHOTO: X @HouseNGR]
Members of House of Representatives at Plenary [PHOTO: X @HouseNGR]

It is a tradition in the military that when a junior is appointed as a service chief, senior officers, ahead of him or her, would proceed on retirement. The understanding is that senior military officers are unlikely to take orders from their juniors.

The bill proposes that those retired officers should be hired as consultants in training institutions owned by the military.

“As from the commencement of this Bill, any Senior Serving Member of the Armed Forces of the Federation that is required to retire compulsorily by reason only that an officer of the same rank or a subordinate rank is appointed by the President of the Federal Republic, as the Chief of Defence Staff, or Chief of Army Staff, or Chief of the Naval Staff Chief of the Air Staff, shall be engaged by the Chief of Defense Staff as Senior technical consultants for the training of officers of the Armed Forces of the Federation in the Nigerian Defence College, Armed Forces, Staff College or any other like institution,” the proposed section 18(A).

Members of House of Representatives at Plenary [PHOTO: X @HouseNGR]
Members of House of Representatives at Plenary [PHOTO: X @HouseNGR]

In his lead debate, Mr Gaza said the “purpose of this bill is to ensure that serving military officers learn from the wealth of knowledge and experiences of retired senior military officers compulsorily retired as a result of the appointment of their junior as Chief of Defence Staff or Service Chiefs.”

The bill was passed for a second reading after it was put to vote by Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu, who presided over the session.

It will be recalled that the federal government in January 2020 approved raising the retirement age and years of service for teachers in Nigeria from 60 years and 35 years to 65 years and 40 years, respectively.

The then president, Muhammadu Buhari, sent the Bill to the National Assembly in June of that year. After it was passed, the president assented to it in April 2022.


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