"No amount of money would make me to take what doesn’t belong to me. I believe my own time will come and at the right time," he stated.
Achi Daniel, a junior security guard at Halogen Securities Limited who returned a bag containing dollars, jewellery, wristwatches and other documents that he found at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Saturday, has revealed that some of his friends mocked him for his honesty.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos on Thursday during a ceremony held to honour him and his supervisor, Francis Emepueaku, Achi said it was not his first time returning lost money in the course of discharging his duty.
The security company also rewarded the duo: Daniel and Francis with education scholarships and the sum of N250,000.
He explained that he was never overwhelmed by the contents of the bag and vowed to do same if he finds himself in a similar situation in future.
He also told journalists that he was not discouraged by those who mocked him, stating that his Christian background aided his character.
He said: “If the money was in multi-millions of foreign currencies, I would still have returned it. I saw the bag on a trolley and I said to myself that somebody must have forgotten it there. It was not padlocked and without opening it, I went to the ground floor with the bag to meet with my supervisor.
“Inside the bag, I saw a mobile phone, jewellery and a huge amount of dollars, as well as several other documents. At that point, we went straight to the manager’s office, who then put a call through to somebody in Atlanta, Georgia, who happened to be the daughter of the owner of the bag.
“When they returned, they were jittery that some of the items in the bag may have vanished, but after crosschecking it, she discovered that everything was intact. The family attempted to give us some money as a form of appreciation, which we rejected, as we told them we were doing our job.
“It never crossed my mind to steal the money and I wouldn’t have done that because it wasn’t my first time of finding such and returning to the owners. No amount of money would make me to take what doesn’t belong to me. I believe my own time will come and at the right time.”
He urged other Nigerians to emulate his character, insisting that it pays to be good.
Also speaking at the event, Engineer Saleh Dunoma, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said several related cases had been recorded at the nation’s airports.
Dunoma, who was represented at the event by Engr. Salisu Daura, Director of Engineering Services, FAAN, said the act gives credibility to the agency’s security profiling system.
He emphasised that the duo would forever be remembered in the history of the industry as role models, reference points, shinning lights and good ambassadors.
He said: “Some others may look at you and tag you stupid; I want to assure you that by virtue of this act, you have secured seats for yourselves in the comity of those with credibility and integrity. I hereby want to advise other staff to emulate this great virtue and become role models just like these two.”
Also at the event was Dr. Banji Oyegbami, a medical practitioner and friend of the person whose bag was found. He had gone to the car park to pick up his friend and his family, who returned to the country for a burial programme.
According to him, he had parked on the first floor of the car park and waited for his guests to arrive, which took another one hour and the team moved towards the car park to commence their journey out of the airport.
However, after more than an hour of driving, his friend, whose name he declined to mention, received a call from his daughter in the United States about a bag that was found, which incidentally belonged to his wife.
He added: “It was only then that my friend's wife realised that her bag was missing. To confirm the information, I called the missing phone and it was picked. The receiver confirmed that the bag was with him. He gave his name as Mr. Francis and that he is the supervisor of the park.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has also commended the airport workers for their honesty.