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House of Reps to Amend Retirement Age for Military Personnel

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A bill to increase the retirement age of military personnel passed Second Reading in the  House of Representatives on October 12. The consolidated bill sponsored by Hon. Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi (SDP; Nasarawa) and seven others  seeks to amend section 30 of the Armed Forces Act 2004, to increase the retirement age of members of the Armed Forces from 60 to 65 years and from 35 to 40 years of service. This is to say that  if the bill is passed into law, the retirement age for military personnel will be 65 years of age or 35 years of service, whichever comes first.

The bill also seeks to amend section 18A of the Act to provide for re-engagement of military officers who compulsorily retire as a result of the appointment of military service chiefs of co-ordinate or subordinate rank, as technical consultants in military training institutions. The practice in the military is that when a service chief is appointed, any officer ahead of such a person in rank would proceed on retirement. According to the sponsor in his lead debate, the amendment bill is aimed at ensuring that serving military officers learn from the wealth of knowledge and experiences of retired senior military officers.

The bill also seeks to provide clarity with regard to the appointment of service chiefs by expressly providing that the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff are appointed from their respective services while the Chief of Defence Staff may be appointed from any of the three services. According to the sponsor of the bill, the extant provisions of the Armed Forces Act regarding appointment of service chiefs is ambiguous and nothing in it prevents a non-serving or non-military officer from being appointed as a service chief.