A retired primary school teacher in Bauchi State, Alhamdu Bello Dan Azumi, has threatened to divorce his wives if before the end of November this year he is not paid his retirement benefits.
The teacher said his aged mother had earlier stopped him from committing suicide, stressing that he wanted the full payment of his entitlements (gratuity) totaling N1.495m and nine months’ pension arrears.
Alhamdu Bello Dan Azumi, who retired in 2016 on grade level 07 Step 12, was earlier this year paid N300,000 as part of his gratuity, but said he wanted his entitlements in full to settle the huge debts he incurred so far.
He threatened that, should the government refused to settle him with the money in full, he would return the money so far paid him to the public coffers, lamenting that life had become tough after retirement, especially with his level of indebtedness.
Alhamdu, who debunked claims in some quarters that he was suffering from mental illness, had also written to a human rights organization in Bauchi to intervene in the case.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary Bauchi State Local Government Pensions Board said he needed authorization from office of the state’s Head of Civil Service to speak to the press on Alhamdu Bello’s case.
The Permanent Secretary, however, confirmed that Alhamdu had also sent a letter to a human rights organization in Bauchi, which in turn wrote formally to the board, adding that the board was currently working on a reply to the human rights organization.
Another staff of the board, who was also not authorized to speak to the press, revealed that the board paid Dan Azumi N300,000 earlier in the year because of his predicaments, explaining further that he (Dan Azumi), who retired in 2016 should not have been paid a dime, because the board at the moment was only settling the entitlements of those staff who retired in 2011.
Asked the number of workers who retired under the state local government pension board who were yet to be paid their entitlements and the total amount of money involved, the Permanent Secretary declined comment.
As at the end of the immediate past Mohammed Abubakar administration, it will be recalled, the total amount of retirement benefits owed retired state and local government workers was put at over N16bn.