Why I wasn’t interested in someone else’s wealth
Dateline was Saturday, August 18, 2018.
Suddenly the social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp – became trending with the story penned by a medical doctor named Banji Oyegbami.
Oyegbami, a physician at Beta Hospital Agege, Lagos had taken to social network platforms to share the courageous story of two Halogen Security Company Limited operatives, Daniel Achi, a junior guard and Francis Emepueaku, a supervisor working at the recently built multi-level car park of Nigeria’s busiest airport, Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
According to him: “I wrote the story not to sell Halogen, myself or the people involved, but to let people know that Nigeria is not as bad as people thought. We have men of integrity and honesty to lead the country aright.
Nigerians are normal people and this is another example for the whole world to see.
“I decided to write the story because of the rare act of honesty and their refusal to accept financial reward, with the duo saying they were only doing their job. On this matter, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called me from United Kingdom.
He didn’t know me but found my profile and called to confirm the story. Other people around the world have also called to celebrate the act.
Presidency was proud of it yesterday (Wednesday). That is who we really are as Nigerians,” Oyegbami added.
Achi, a native of Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State, had shortly after he resumed duty at the car park at about 5:00am, found a handbag forgotten by one of the users of the facility.
According to him, “I was posted to the first floor of the multi level car park at MMIA to take over from the operative that worked on night shift.
At about 5:36am, while trying to ensure that the cars are parked appropriately for easy movement in and out of the floor, a car had just left the floor, and as I made my way back, I noticed a handbag in the parking lot.
I lifted it and it felt heavy but I didn’t open it because I don’t want to be involved in any issue whatsoever.”
A stickler to chain of command, Achi dashed off to the ground floor to give situation report to his superior officer, Emepueaku, who was the shift supervisor.
After explanation, Emepueaku collected the bag and kept it in the office.
After a little while, they checked for possible contact of the owner but could not find anything except a mobile phone that was in the bag.
They checked through the phone and discovered it had only foreign numbers.
Emepueaku contacted one of the numbers who they got to know was related to the owner but receiver is based in Atlanta, United States.
“I called one of the numbers on the phone it was the daughter of the woman, who is in the United States that picked the call and said the bag belonged to her mother.
She later put a call across to her father that her mom had forgotten her handbag,” Emepueaku said.
After a while, a call came through the phone and the caller told Achi and Emepueaku that the had driven almost half an hour out of Lagos but they are on their way back to the airport.
“Please keep the bag safe, we will be with you shortly; we are on way back to the airport,” the caller said.
Shortly after, a woman accompanied by a man believed to be in his mid or late 60s surfaced to claim the bag.
As a trained operative, Emepueaku interrogated the guests to ascertain they were the actual owners of the bag.
“The woman was panicking but Supol told her to calm down and carefully confirm the items from the logbook, which she did.
After that, she also affirmed the contents and said they were intact.
They offered us money in appreciation but we refused and told them we were simply doing our job.
More so, we are happy the bag did not get into the hands of touts,” Achi explained.
Asked if he attempted to know the contents of the bag before putting a call through to the owner, Emepueaku said: “All I found in the bag were envelopes containing money in foreign currencies, documents and jewelries.”
On what prompted him to contact the owner of bag, “That is the way we were trained.
When we find someone’s property, we need to secure it first and then look for contact to reach the owner,” he added.
Achi said: “My conscience was clear; though the money would have made me rich but I was not interested because I’m not interested in someone else’s wealth and I believe my own will come at the right time,” he said when asked what came to his mind when he saw the contents of the bag.
He continued: “I was never tempted.
I have worked at the Federal Palace, Black Diamond and other places. I was awarded the best employee while at Black Diamond, which I cherished because I believe a good name is better than riches.”
Achi spoke on different interpretations given to his act of courage: “They had different opinion about me: some criticized me and said I should have kept the bag for myself.
Others said I gave it back because I chose to remain in poverty all my life.
But some others applauded me and supported my decision to return the bag to its owner.
They said if nobody rewards me, God would certainly reward me.”
For their act of integrity, the management of Halogen Security Company Limited, led by the Group Managing Director, Mr. Wale Olaoye and other directors of the company singled Achi and Emepueaku out for honour with an early morning ceremonial parade by their colleagues on Thursday, August 23.
Speaking at the award ceremony held at the Ikeja office of the company, Olaoye, expressed satisfaction for honesty displayed by the two guards, stressing that they exhibited Halogen Security intrinsic values.
He said: “We are particularly proud of Achi Daniel and Francis Emepueaku for their impressive show of integrity, passion, excellence and respect.
Those are our inestimable values. These two heroes represent who we truly are – the trustworthy partner anyone cannot do without.
They are who we are – one of the best brands from Nigeria. I am proud of them.”
Olaoye encouraged the two guards and their colleagues to see themselves as the potential chief security officer of any multinational company.
“Halogen Security has produced many chief security officers of major multinational companies.
Any of you can rise to that level, I encourage you to aim high.”
In his remarks, Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, represented by the Director of Engineering, Engr. Salisu Daura said the agency is daily inundated by catalogue of feedbacks from elated airport users who lost yet recovered their valuables ranging from monies, important documents, travelling bags containing valuables, laptops and other devices.
“Today is another of such days, as two members of staff of Halogen Securities Limited have also distinguished themselves via the display of acts of honesty and exemplary conduct by retrieving, contacting and handling over a hand bag full of valuables that was forgotten at the multi storey car park to the owner.
I am particularly elated that this act gives confidence and credibility to our security profiling system as an organisation, as those involved are not direct staff of the authority.
“In the history of this airport and the authority, you will always be remembered as role models, reference points, shining lights and good ambassadors.
Some others may look at you and tag you stupid, but I want to assure you that by virtue of this act, you have secured seats for yourselves in the country in the comity of those with credibility and integrity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Halogen rewarded both heroes with the sum of N250,000 cash each as well as a diploma scholarship to study security management.