For their honesty in returning to the owner a forgotten bag containing some dollar notes and other valuables, two Nigerians, Messrs Francis Emepueaku and Achi Daniel have joined the growing list of honest Nigerians who had returned lost items to their owners in the recent past. Their exemplary conduct has further portrayed Nigeria positively before the international community.
On August 18, a returnee American forgot a handbag containing valuables, including jewelry and some dollars, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos. However, two security men, employees of Halogen Securities, who were on duty at the airport recovered the bag and promptly called the owner to retrieve it. The owner returned, recovered the bag and offered the security men some money which they promptly rejected and insisted that they were only doing their work.
Their conduct is a counter narrative to the distorted notion that Nigerians are corrupt and dishonest people. The truth, as demonstrated by the worthy example of the security men, is that there are indeed many good Nigerians who work hard to earn their living and they are contented.
It is laudable that President Muhammadu Buhari commended the security men and urged other Nigerians to emulate them. The president also said “such conduct reflected the new Nigeria that we all desired.” Also, other Nigerians have commended the good conduct of the two security men. We commend the worthy conduct of the security men and call on all Nigerians to emulate their shining example. Nigerians should also bear in mind that honesty remains the best policy which they must exhibit in whatever position they find themselves. We believe that to do something without expecting a reward in return, is the highest form of altruism and self-sacrifice. As far as the two security men were concerned, they were only doing their duty and did not see any reason to accept part of the recovered money as a reward.
For their honesty, Mr. Wole Olaoye, the Managing Director of Halogen Securities, rewarded each of them with N500,000 cash and scholarship to study up to diploma level in security studies. In a related development, one of the two security men, Daniel Achi from Delta State, was recently honoured in Lagos by his Ubulu-Uku kinsmen during the celebration of their annual new yam festival. They praised Achi for his patriotic act.
There is no doubt that the security men will receive more rewards from appreciative Nigerians, government and corporate bodies. There are indeed other good Nigerians who had demonstrated such honesty in the past. We recall that in 2007, Mr. Imeh Usuah, a cab driver and a native of Ubokudom in Akwa Ibom State, returned the sum of N18 million left in his car to the owner in Abuja.
Also, in 2014, Yusuf Umar, a chief receptionist with Jigawa Hotels, returned $100,000 left in the hotel by a customer. Umar was honoured by his state government for his integrity.
In 2015, Miss Josephine Ugwu, an indigene of Enugu State and a cleaner at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos returned a whopping sum of N12 million left behind by a passenger. In 2014, she also returned $600,000 and N3 million to their respective owners at the airport. For her integrity and honesty, many organisations honoured her. In 2017, a pensioner, Mrs. Omotosho Mary Olufunmilayo retuned about N2 million which was erroneously paid into her salary account by Ekiti State Government. As a result of her honesty, Governor Ayodele Fayose rewarded her with N100,000.
We advise the Federal Government to consider Nigerians who had brought honour and enhanced the image of the country in its annual national honours’ list as a way of encouraging others to do the same. For years, members of the political class have dominated the national honours’ list. We call for a drastic change in the narrative.