More retired judges sue Lagos over non payment of retirement benefits

Ogunsakin Mustapha
4 Min Read
Justices Doris Okuwobi, Candide-Johnson, Olaide Olayinka

More retired judges of Lagos State have joined their brother judge, Justice Samuel Adebowale Candide-Johnson in filing suits at the National Industrial Court, Lagos against the governor of  Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos government, and the Judicial Service Commission over non-payment of their retirement benefits.

On June 1 when the matter came up before the court, two other members of the class of 2021, Justice Grace Modupe Onyeabo, and Justice Iyabo Kasali filed their own suits through the same law firm, Strachan Partners before Justice Maureen Nkechinyereugo Esowe,of the NICN, Lagos. Others are Justices Adeniyi Onigbanjo, Marian Olajumoke Emeya, Owolabi Dabiri, and Mufutau Olokooba.

Three other judges that retired before 2021, Justice Doris Tomilayo Okuwobi, Justice Olaide Olayinka, and Justice Ojikutu-Oshode also filed suits challenging the computation of entitlements. They also seek for declarations that their pension and gratuity were not computed in accordance with extant law, to wit: Section 291 (3) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); And  also that the arbitrary computation of the Claimant’s retirement benefits by the 3rd Defendant without recourse to extant law is unlawful.

However, Lagos State government is making frantic efforts to settle the disputes out of Court. Lawyers to the state have already informed the court of the state’s willingness to settle the cases concerning the judges out of court. Already, the government had made payment  of part of the retirement  benefits to seven retired judges in the class of 2021, excluding  payment of their pension. The payment is based on an old template; pending  completion of settlement details and agreements on the  appropriate template to use for retired Judges Pension in accordance with section 291(3) of the 1999 constitution.

When the matters came up, all parties reported efforts being made to settle the suits out of court. Justice Esowe thereafter adjourned further proceedings  till June 21, 2022 for a report of settlement.

Justice Candide-Johnson(rtd) in early 2022 filed a suit before a National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Lagos, demanding his pension, gratuity, and other entitlements from Lagos State government, a year after his retirement.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Attorney General, Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Justice Candide-Johnson retired from the Lagos bench on June 27, 2021, having attained the mandatory retirement age of 65. He served the state as a judicial officer for 20 years, having been sworn in as a judge on May 24, 2001.

However, in the statement of facts filed before Justice Maureen Nkechinyereugo Esowe, the retired judge as the claimant stated that since his retirement on June 27, 2021, he has yet to receive his severance gratuity, nor any part of his pension and other retirement entitlements.

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