Supreme Court Judge, Justice Amina Augie, has left the bench, having attained the retirement age of 70.
Naija News reports that Aguie, who was the sixth female justice of the Supreme Court, officially retired on Thursday at the valedictory service held in her honour in Abuja.
In her valedictory speech, the retired judge stated that the apex court should be allowed to focus on policy issues and not be drawn into politics.
She also advocated an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to limit the number of cases that get to the Supreme Court on appeal and reduce the workload of the apex court justices.
Augue argued that the amendment of the constitution would enhance the functioning of the courts in Nigeria.
She said: “But how can Supreme Court justices focus on policy issues when they are drowning in an overwhelming caseload? The only way forward, as highlighted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, during the special session marking the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year, is to amend the constitution to restrict the circumstances under which appeals can reach this Supreme Court.
“This marks the final instance where my voice will be heard in any court, and I wish to use this opportunity to directly address the 10th National Assembly, through distinguished Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who was once my student at the Law School.
“I had the privilege of teaching him evidence, and I trust that he learned well. Hence, it should be evident to him that swift action is needed from the 10th National Assembly to accomplish what others could not, amending the constitution to enhance the functioning of our courts in Nigeria.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the Federal Government was ready to strengthen the apex court to attain the required number of justices as stipulated by the constitution.
“President Bola Tinubu-led government shall guarantee excellent conditions of service and remunerations good enough to appreciate the onerous duties of judicial officers at all levels,” Fagbemi said.
Earlier in his speech, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, described Justice Augie as “a rare gem and unblemished symbol of humility and piety.”
“Her judgments are not only incisive but equally analytical and rich in content and context. Her robust contributions to the development of our jurisprudence are fascinating and captivating, too. Her impeccable attention to detail in every matter that came before her is alluring and salutary as well,” he said.
Profile of Retired Justice Augie
Born on September 3, 1953, Justice Amina Augie obtained her First School Leaving Certificate in 1965 and her West African School Certificate in 1971.
She studied law at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and graduated with a Second Class Upper Division in Law in 1977.
She immediately proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in 1977.
She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.
The jurist did her National Youth Service as a Legal Aid Counsel with the Legal Aid Council in Sokoto State from 1978 to 1979.
Justice Augie’s retirement now leaves the apex court with 11 justices.