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Friday, 3 October 2014

Inspiring Story of The Nigerian Taxi Driver Who Returned 18 Million Naira

Nigerian taxi driver Mr. Imeh Usuah, was among those who received the national honour as a Member of the Federal Republic (MON) from the President a few days ago. He also got a 3 bedroom apartment. His act of honesty has finally been recognised several years down the line. The story of this 66 year old cab driver shows us that honesty and integrity eventually pays off. Read his story as reported by Thisday in 2012 below:

On Monday, September 17, 2012, when President Goodluck Jonathan conferred national honours on deserving Nigerians, Mr. Imeh Usuah, an Abuja-based cab driver popularly known as Jaja was not recognised. But Mr. Usuah is only a forgotten national hero who should be recognised for his act of integrity. In November 2007 Usuah improved the image of Nigeria after returning the sum of N18 million left in his car to the owner in Abuja.

With a sense of pride and fulfilment, he recounted what happened in November 2007 and how the bag containing the money was found and returned to the owner. “It was one morning by 5.30 AM, in November, 2007, when British Airways (BA), landed at the international wing of the airport in Abuja. As usual, I positioned myself from metres away from the arrival wing waiting for passengers to come out so that I can get my customers and take them where ever they want to go inside town." In my waiting position I saw these two white men who came with the British airways. From distance I could observe that they were obviously tired from their look. They beckoned on me requesting for a drop at the Hilton Transcorp Hotel in Maitama area in Abuja.

“I didn't waste time as I immediately put some of their bags into the boot of my cab and the remaining ones neatly arranged on the back seat and underneath the seats, and off I headed for the destination. I arrived at the hotel lounge within 45 minutes and dropped them with their luggage. I got paid N,4000 for my service and I zoomed off, but unknown to both of us there was a bag which contained this huge amount of money left behind tucked away underneath my seat.”

“I decided to take the cab for washing as my usual practice after the day’s work, and while I was removing the foot mats in a bent down position, I saw this brown suite case tucked underneath the driver’s seat. Immediately I remembered the passengers I had carried for the day and I started thinking of who really among them could have forgotten the suitcase. Instinctively I knew it was one of the many bags belonging to those chaps I took to Transcorp Hilton. Even though I didn’t open the suitcase, I sensed at that hour that it must at least contain some valuable items. My immediate response was to inform our association chairman at that time, Mr. Alex Ekwueme Udom. I told him what happened and that I was returning the bag to the owners.”

He continued: “By the time I met these guys, the owners of the bag at the hotel, they were standing at the hotel lobby confused, dejected and frustrated. They couldn't even recognise me as the cab driver that brought them from the airport and shockingly they didn't know the number of taxi. But, I could recognise them. These people could not believe their eyes. Their confused state disappeared, and they were so happy that they went on their knees thanking me for returning the bag. They requested for my GSM numbers and in a twinkle of an eye, I disappeared from the scene,” he said. I did it to let people know, especially the foreigners that Nigerians are good and great people. I can go hungry for days, for as long as my integrity remains, hunger will disappear by itself.”

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