An Abuja-based not-for-profit organisation, Accountability Lab. Nigeria, has honoured a pensioner in Bauchi State, Abubakar Garba, for returning N1million excess gratuity paid to him.
Garba, honoured with a “Champion of Integrity” award, said the recognition excited him and would encourage others to exhibit similar honesty in future.
Garba said, “It is not always money that matters, but recognition in appreciation of the sacrifice made by people; I could have gone home quietly with the excess money and it probably would not have been detected.
“However, my decision to satisfy my conscience was my ultimate goal and any recognition by whatever quarters will serve the purpose of eliciting similar behaviour from others.”
Garba, 71, a Motor Chief Driver with the Bauchi State Judiciary, who retired in 2011, was on Aug.5, 2019, erroneously paid N1.2 million as 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 of N200,000.
“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.