The Presiding Judge, Makurdi Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien has ordered the Benue State Government, State Bureau of Pension Service and State Attorney General, And Commissioner For justice to severally and jointly pay Gabril Arii the sum of N22,383,939.00k being the balance of the gratuity of his late father, the then Chief Registrar of the Benue State of Nigeria Judiciary, Mr. Arii Edwin who died on the 4th December 2013.
The Court held that Gabril Arii being the administrator of the estate of the late officer is entitled to the gratuity of his late father.
However, on the claim for the sum of N45,106,565.00k as pension, Justice Essien held that such claim cannot be sustained because the deceased never retired from the service of the Benue State Government.
From fact, the claimant- Gabril Arii had submitted that upon the demise of his father EDWIN AMEDU ARII Esq and his subsequent computation for the payment of his retirement/death benefits in 2015 from the office of the Auditor General of Benne State, Makurdi that he’s entitled to the payment of the same pension and gratuity.
He sought amongst others for an order directing defendants severally and jointly to pay him the sum of N 67, 490, 504, being the outstanding balance of the gratuity and pension arrears aggregated to 5 years.
In response, the Chief State Counsel, D. E. Ikape Esq. sought for an order of court striking out the suit for being incompetent, and not within the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court that the pension and gratuities Law of Benue State 2001 is no longer in existence and repealed by the Benue State Pension Reform Law, 2019.
In opposition, Gabril’s counsel A. A. Sule Esq argued that the law applicable to a cause of action is the law prevailing at the time the cause of action arose notwithstanding that the law has been revoked at the time the action is being tried urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Isaac Essien held that the Benue State Pension Reform Law 2019 preserved the old pension regime that the claims brought pursuant to the old pension regime are not abolished by the new law, rather they are preserved.
“This court is satisfied that the claimant is entitled to be paid the gratuity of the late Arii A. Edwin computed in exhibit 6 in the sum of N 27,063,939.00k. This amount would be less the sum of N 4,680,000.00k admitted by the claimant to have been paid to him as evidenced in the statement of account annexed to the further affidavit as exhibits 4 to 9. This would bring the outstanding gratuity to the sum of N22,383,939.00k.” Justice Essien ruled.
Lastly, the court dismissed the claim for gratuity and interest for lacking in merit.
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