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Lagos airport driver finds, returns N888,000 to passenger


Adeniyi Olayinka, a driver at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) taxi park in Lagos, was yesterday the cynosure of all eyes after returning the sum of N888,000 lost by a passenger.

Olayinka, in his late 30s, told newsmen that he discovered an envelope left behind by the passenger on the back seat of his car, shortly after he returned to the airport from Ibese, Ikorodu, destination of the passenger.

The driver, who doesn’t have a car of his own, but works as commissioned driver to a member of the Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN), said it never crossed his mind to covet another person’s belonging because
“it would put another family in sorrow and it is against the orientation given to every member of ACHAN at the airport.

“Though it could be tempting to some people to see such money and pocket it, especially when their income is very poor. As for me, it never crossed my mind to do so,” Olayinka said.

The driver and his lucky passenger, Dele Ayeni, had met at about 1:30a.m. Monday shortly after the latter arrived from Cairo, Egypt. According to Olayinka, “I negotiated with him and we agreed for N6,000 to transport him to his destination at Ikorodu. I returned to the airport immediately I dropped him at his house. But no sooner I arrived and parked my car at the airport I discovered that an enveloped had been left behind on the back seat of my car.

“I picked the envelope and opened it. What I saw was his international passport. I looked further into the envelope and discovered there was another white envelope inside. I opened the second envelope only to discover that something was wrapped in it. When I removed the wrapper I discovered it contained mint fresh notes of U.S. currency. They were in $100 bills. I counted and they were 24 in number totaling $2,400. 

“When converted at prevailing rate of N370 as at Monday morning, it amounted to N888,000. Based on the orientation and instructions we received from the leadership of ACHAN on weekly basis, I reported the findings to the officer on duty at the arrival car park of the airport. I was instructed to drop the parcel and its contents at our secretariat at MMIA.”

At dawn, both Olayinka and Ayeni were travelling in opposite direction to look for one another. As the driver reached the passenger’s house, Olayinka was alerted that Ayeni was already at the airport looking for his money.

Ayeni, having retrieved his lost items, said he was a living testimony to the advantages of taking cabs from registered point at airports. “I have started campaigning to people via social media to always patronise airport registered cabs. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. The registered airport cab may charge higher but you are sure that if you forget anything in the cab, you would surely see it again,” he said.

Chairman ACHAN MMIA, Lagos, Olubi Ojo said Ayeni’s case was just one of the many cases the association handles on regular basis. Ojo recalled that one of his members once returned $15,000 left by a passenger in his car.

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