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Why IGP Egbetokun Should Benefit From Raising The Armed Forces Retirement Age

By Adewole Kehinde

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”Tony Robbins

On October 3, 2023, the House of Representatives commenced the debate on a bill that seeks to increase the age of retirement of police officers from 60 years to 65 years.

The private member bill sponsored by Hon. Gaza Gbefwi seeks to amend the Police Act, No. 2 of 2020, to provide for the engagement of compulsorily retired senior police officers as consultants to provide training and guidance to serving officers and for related matters.
The affected senior police officers are those compulsorily retired by reason of the appointment by the President of an Inspector General of Police.

Hon. Gbewfi proposed the insertion of a new section 7A and the amendment of Section 18 of the Principal Act.

As stipulated in Clause 2 of the bill, Hon. Gbewfi proposed the insertion of a new section ‘7A’ after the existing section 7, which provides that: “As from the commencement of this Bill, where a Police Officer other than the most senior Deputy Inspector-General of Police is appointed by the President as the Inspector General of Police, all Deputy Inspectors General of Police of coordinate rank or superior rank who are made to retire mandatorily as a result of such appointment shall be engaged by the President as strategic technical consultants for the training of officers of the force in the Police College/Academy or any other like institution.”

Clause 7(A)(2) also stated that “The President shall determine the terms and conditions of engagement of each consultant, provided that no consultant shall be engaged for a period exceeding 5 years from the date of his engagement.”

Clause 7(3) also provides that “the provision of this section does not apply to senior serving officers who were retired compulsorily as a result of a disciplinary measure, or on health grounds, or whose compulsory retirement was for any reason other than as provided in Clause 2 of this Bill.”

The sponsor of the bill also proposed an amendment to Section 18(8) of the Principal Act, substituting for the words ’60 years’ the words ’65 years’ appearing in line 3.

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, the bill to increase the retirement age for members of the armed forces successfully passed its second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi, a legislator from Nasarawa, along with seven other lawmakers, proposed to elevate the retirement age for armed forces members from 60 to 65 and extend their years of service from 35 to 40.

It was gathered that the bill seeks to amend section 18 of the Armed Forces Act 2004 and introduce a new subsection (subsection 4) into section 30.

I strongly support the bill because the same thing took place in the judiciary when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed a bill into law on June 8, 2023, by unifying the retirement age of judges of superior courts of record in the country to 70 years.

The law on the retirement age of police officers in the country has remained so since May 29, 1999, when the constitution itself was signed into law.

I could also recall that on August 24, 2023, the Committee of Retired Inspectors-General of Police advocated 65 years as retirement age and 40 years as tenure of service for police personnel.

According to them, there is a need for a re-evaluation of retirement age and tenure of service.

They agreed that this should be done by extending the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and the tenure of service from 35 to 40 years, whichever comes first.

I know that starting the extension of the retirement age with IGP Kayode Egbetokun means that police personnel will benefit from his several years of experience, bringing valuable knowledge and expertise to the force. By increasing the retirement age, departments can retain experienced officers who have developed strong problem-solving skills, a deep understanding of community dynamics, and effective strategies for crime prevention.

Nigerians should not forget that Egbetokun possesses invaluable institutional memory, meaning he has a comprehensive understanding of the Police department’s procedures, policies, and historical context. By benefitting from the extension, the various departments can maintain continuity and avoid potential gaps in decision-making.

The retirement age extension will make Egbetokun serve as a mentor to younger members of the force, passing on his experience and wisdom. This mentoring relationship will help improve the overall performance and effectiveness of the police departments.

Egbetokun is an officer with vast knowledge of modern policing, the retirement age increment will allow him to bring his valuable knowledge and expertise to the force.

The amendment of the retirement age will afford Egbetokun to focus on restructuring policing methodologies, empowering officers, fostering community partnerships, and promoting transparency.

I am aware of the single tenure of four years pursuant to Section 7(3) and (6) of the Police Act, 2020, on the appointment of the Inspector General of Police.

It is my sincere hope that the Senate will pass the bill and send it to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for assent so as to override Section 18(8) of the Police Act, 2020, and Rule 299 of the Public Service Rules (PSR), which provide for the compulsory retirement of all grades of police/public officers at the age of 60 or 35 years of service, whichever comes first.

It is important to note that the Egbetokun has the physical and mental health, job performance assessments, and above all, fresh perspectives for the police force.

 

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com

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