The Presiding Judge, Makurdi Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien has ordered the Benue State Government and Benue State Local Government Pension Board to pay a retiree, Mrs Susanna Asongo the sum of N 6,798,113.50k, gratuity and arrears of pension.
The Court held that the Local Government Pension Laws of Benue State guarantees to Mrs Susanna as a retiree, a right to his gratuity and pension upon retirement from the service of any state of the federation.
Justice Essien ordered that the sum awarded in favour of Mrs Susanna Asongo shall be paid by instalment, with the first instalment of N1,000,000 to be paid on the first month and the sum of N500,000 at the end of all subsequent months until the liquidation of the judgment debt.
From facts, the claimant- Mrs Susanna Asongo had asked for a determination whether upon the true and proper construction of section 15(a) and 19 of the Local Government Pension Board Law of Benue State 2004 and section 210 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended), as a retiree of Benue State civil service with Makurdi Local Government Education Authority who retired after attaining the statutory age of retirement of 60 years dated 17/2/2016 with effect from 10/3/2016, she is not entitled to the payment of her Pension and Gratuity.
However, the defendants- Benue State Govt and 4 others filed a joint counter affidavit and failed to enter an appearance.
Mrs. Susanna’s counsel, A. M. Ogedengbe Esq averred that all efforts to get his client payment for gratuity and outstanding pension since the year 2020 were to no avail, and urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Isaac Essien struck out the names of Special Adviser Bureau of Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs and Education Secretary Makurdi Local Government Education Authority (2nd and 4th defendants) for being non-juristic parties which do not fall within the categories of legal persons known to law.
The Court held that the community reading of Local Government Pension Laws of Benue State guarantees to Mrs Susanna Asongo as a retiree, a right to his gratuity and pension upon retirement from the service of any state of the federation.
Justice Essien further declared that the counter affidavit filed by the defendant fell short of the law’s requirement, and held that Mrs Susanna Asongo has been able to prove her entitlement to the gratuity claimed satisfactory to the court.
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