Malam Abubakar Garba, a Bauchi State pensioner who returned N1million over paid long outstanding gratuity paid to him, has revealed that the primary reason why he returned the money was because of his fear of God and the repercussions of spending money that was not his “legitimate entitlement”.
The pensioner, aged 71, who was a motor chief driver with the Bauchi State Judiciary and retired in 2011, on August 5 was erroneously paid N1.2million as the balance of his gratuity, instead of N200,000.
Upon getting to the bank and discovering the amount on the cheque given to him, he returned it (cheque) to the disbursement committee, and was issued another cheque for N200,000.
In an exclusive interview with NAN in Bauchi on Monday, the retiree said he never “thought twice” before returning the cheque.
Below are his words;
“My entitlement was N1.2million but I had been paid N1million 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 N1.2million 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.”
“As I am talking to you now, I need N1.5million 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 a loan, without any success, yet I returned the money”
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Bauchi State chapter, Malam Habu Gar, also attested to the fact that Malam Abubakar Garba is an honest and God-fearing person.
The Bauchi state NUP chairman said,
“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 N1billion, I know, he 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 endeavours.
“I expect the state government to reward this exemplary character, to encourage such honesty.