By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA
Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, will on Monday, bow out of the Supreme Court bench, having clocked the 70 years statutory retirement age.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour is the second most senior jurist of the court, directly below the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
His retirement has depleted the number of justices of the apex court to 18.
The number of justices of the court unprecedentedly rose to 20 in November 2020, after President Muhammadu Buhari okayed the elevation of eight justices at a go.
Their appointment had sparked hope that the apex court would for the first time in history, attain the full complement of 21 justices.
However, with the death of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on March 7, about 23 days to his retirement, and the retirement of Justice Rhodes-Vivour on Monday, only 18 Justice are left on the apex court bench.
Remarkably, five other justices of the court, including the CJN, will equally exit the bench within the next 33 months.
Whereas Mary Odili, who will become the second most senior justice of the court upon the retirement of Justice Rhodes-Vivour, will retire on May 12, 2022, Justice Ejembi Eko will also bow out of active judicial service just 11 days later, being May 23, 2022.
The CJN himself will retire on December 31, 2023, which is about seven months after President Buhari’s second term in office had elapsed.
Meanwhile, Vanguard learned that the Supreme Court will on Monday, hold a special valedictory session in honour of Justice Rhodes-Vivour.