Daniel, Emepueaku: Need for presidential handshake, national awards

Two security guards, Achi Daniel and Francis Emepueaku that found and returned huge amounts of dollars and other valuables to the owner at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos have received accolades across the country and beyond.

Apart from the guards, Dr. Banji Oyegbami, who spoke of their good deeds, also need to be celebrated. When he wrote that his ‘hope is not lost’ on social media, little did he know that he was heralding the fortune and integrity of two Halogen Security guards for doing what is uncommon in Nigeria.

Dr. Oyegbami, a medical doctor’s practical experience at MMIA, started on August 18, 2018 when he went to the airport with his driver to pick up his very close friend and his wife that arrived from Atlanta United States of America on board Delta Airline.

They parked their car on the first floor of the new multi-level building car park and loaded their bags into the boot of the vehicle while his friend’s wife out of excitement forgot her handbag on the trolley and drove off.

They journeyed for about one and a half hours in terrible traffic without realising that the woman’s handbag was not in the car when they received a phone call from the woman’s daughter in the US.

They went back to the airport to meet the security guards of Halogen Securities as Mr. Achi Daniel found the bag and gave it to his supervisor, Mr. Francis Emepueaku, as lost but found items.

The woman cross-checked items in the handbag and confirmed that the items were complete with iPhone, large sums of dollars in labeled envelops sent through her to people in Nigeria, wrist watches she planned as gift items and other documents and valuables were intact.

Unlike some Nigerians, Daniel, who said that he had worked in the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos in the past, explained that he had returned sums recovered in the cause of his duty to their owners before now.

He insisted that the contents in the bag was never attractive to him, but lamented that some people close to him were already making jest of him for returning the contents in the bag. He, however, said that he was never discouraged by their mockery.

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, jewelries and huge amount of money in dollars and several other documents. At that point, we went straight to the manager’s office who now 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 cross-checking it, she discovered that everything was intact and the family attempted to give us some amount of money as a form of appreciation, which we rejected, telling them that 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”.

Daniel, a widower, with four children, believes that only God will reward honest people no matter how long it takes. It is very rare especially in the country at this difficult times for someone to see huge amounts of money not in local currency and hand it over to the owner.

But despite the fame and rewards both guards are enjoying presently, many Nigerians are of the view that more needed to be done, especially from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Others are of the view that Mr. President owes them an invitation to the Aso Villa because of their show of love and demonstration of high level of integrity which is rare these days

The two guards have changed the narrative of certain negative image of Nigeria abroad. Their singular action, which has drawn world attention, remains commendable and should be appreciated by all in order to encourage others that honesty pays.

Though the duo were given N500,000 by the management of Halogen Securities, President Buhari should not end the recognition with just writing commendation letters to the duo.

We wish to state with high sense of responsibility President Buhari should invite the two guards to Aso Rock for a presidential handshake in order to tell Nigerians and indeed the world that it is a new dawn in the land.

We are of the opinion that Daniel and Emepueaku should be given National Awards for the exemplary conduct they have played in telling the world that despite the hard economic situation in Nigeria and poor financial background, there are still honest citizens

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Ihesiulo Grace

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