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Journalist rescues pensioner from committing suicide over unpaid gratuity

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A retired teacher simply identified as Alhamdu yesterday attempted to take his own life under a tree at the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bauchi State Council at Ahmadu Bello Way, over an unpaid gratuity.

Narrating the incident, the Assistant Secretary of the state NUJ, Alhaji Kabir Garba, who saved the pensioner at about 8:00a.m. said when he arrived the scene, he sighted the man with a rope in his hand who told him he had planned to address journalists before proceeding to commit suicide under the tree.

He explained: “I met one man who approached me and introduced himself as Alhamdu. He said he came here at about 7:00a.m. I saw him half naked with a rope in his hands; in fact, he had tied it to the mango tree within the NUJ premises and was sitting on a chair.

“I asked him what he was doing here at that time of the day with a rope in his hands. He told me he wanted to kill himself with the rope. I asked him why, he said he came from Ningi about 31 days ago, when he arrived Bauchi, he proceeded to Potiskum in Yobe State with a plan to go to Sambisa so he could be killed by Boko Haram insurgents; but on getting there, he changed his mind and came back to Bauchi.”

Garba said he asked him why he wanted to kill himself and he told him he is HIV positive and has a lot of debts that he needed to pay but could not due to the non-payment of his entitlements.“He told me he is a retired teacher from Ningi local government area, who had spent 35 years in service and had retired but his gratuity has not been paid. He also told me himself, his wife and two children are all HIV positive and has a lot of bills to pay.

“He said he wanted to give two of his daughters out in marriage but couldn’t get the money to do so. He took a loan from different people amounting to over N800,000 to do a lot of things but the people are demanding for their money,” the NUJ assistant scribe narrated.

Alhamdu claimed that his gratuity is over N1.6 million and he was in dire need of the money to offset the debts on his head. Garba added that Alhamdu threatened that if the state government failed to pay his entitlements between yesterday and Friday this week, he would kill himself elsewhere. “I then decided to carry him in my car to the chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners where the chairman addressed him and pleaded with him not to kill himself,” he added.


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Kabir Garba
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