- The Bauchi pensioner who returned N1 million gratuity overpayment, Malam Abubakar Garba, says he did so out of his fear of God
- Garba said he was in dire need of money to complete his house and repair his only car, but the satisfaction of his conscience was more paramount than his needs
- The chairman of the pensioners union in the state, Malam Habu Gar, said he had known Garba for long, as an honest and God-fearing person
- Gar said Garba should be rewarded for his exemplary character, in order to encourage such honesty
Malam Abubakar Garba, a pensioner in Bauchi who returned N1 million excess gratuity paid to him, said his action was informed by his fear of God and the repercussions of spending money that was not his “legitimate entitlement”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Garba, 71, a driver with the Bauchi state judiciary who retired in 2011, was on August 5, erroneously paid N1.2 million as balance of his gratuity, instead of N200,000.
Legit.ng gathers that upon getting to the bank and discovering the amount on the cheque given to him, he returned it (the cheque) to the disbursement committee, and was issued another cheque of N200,000.
In an interview in Bauchi on Monday, August 12, the retiree said he never “thought twice” before returning the cheque.
“My entitlement was N1.2 million but I had been paid N1 million some years back, leaving a balance of N200,000.
“When the new regime decided to settle arrears of pension and I was lucky to be considered, I was given a cheque of N1.2 million again.
“I did not realise the mistake until I went to the bank and started filling the teller to lodge the money into my account.
“I promptly returned the cheque, to the surprise and amazement of members of the committee,” he explained.
Garba said he was in dire need of money to complete the building of his house and repair his only car, but that the satisfaction of his conscience was more paramount than his needs.
“As I am talking to you now, I need N1.5 million to complete my house; I need N300,000 to resuscitate my car that had been grounded for two years.
“I had been looking for a bank that will grant me loan, without any success, yet I returned the money”, said Garba, who has one wife and seven children.
He said most people who heard the story were astonished, with some saying he was probably “scared of EFCC”, “had no financial challenges,” or was “too old to value money.”
Speaking on the honesty displayed by a member of his union, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in the state, Malam Habu Gar, said he had known Garba for long, as an honest and God-fearing person.
“I have known Abubakar Garba as an honest and religious person, as such I am not surprised by his action.
“Even if the over-payment were to be N1 billion, the him I know (sic) would have returned it.
“People of his character are very few and almost getting extinct, especially in this era of gross corruption in all human endeavors.
“I expect the state government to reward this exemplary character to encourage such honesty, just as the Nigeria Air Force and the federal government did to the Air Force personnel that returned money picked at pilgrims camp in Kano,” said Gar.
In a similar development, Legit.ng previously reported that Olayinka Adeniyi, a cab operator under the Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, returned 2,400 US dollars, (about N888,000), and an international passport forgotten by a passenger.
Adeniyi said he discovered the items in an envelope at the back seat of the car as he was returning back, after dropping the passenger.
The cab driver said he never had it in mind to take someone’s belongings because it would put sorrow in another family’s life.
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