The National Orientation Agency on Thursday gave a taxi driver, Mr. Imeh Usuah, a N30,000 award in Abuja for returning N18 million left in his car by a passenger.
In addition, Lagos State Governor, Babatunnde Fashola, is to receive N30,000 from the agency for stopping soldiers driving on the dedicated lane for Bus Rapid Transport, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
NOA Director-General, Mr. Mike Omeri, said these in Abuja while giving the award of N30,000 to Usuah for his honesty and patriotism by returning N18 million to the rightful owner.
The taxi driver was also given an award for his courage to do the right thing when most people would have seen the money as a way to enrich themselves.
Fashola had on July 17, 2012 arrested two military officers who drove on the dedicated BRT lane.
The two military officers were accosted on the BRT lane at the Outer Marina in Central Lagos, where Col. K. I. Yusuf drove in an army green Peugeot 406 with registration No BO1 – 150 NA and Staff Sgt Adeomi A.J, drove in a black Toyota Camry car.
Realising that the game was up, Yusuf came down from his car, saluted several times and kept muttering, “I am sorry, very, very sorry,” with the governor enquiring why, a senior military officer, chose to break the law instead of preserving it.
Speaking after the incident, Fashola described as very unfortunate. He lamented that those who ought to stand in defence of democratic values were the ones violating them.
Omeri said every Nigerian who does good deeds will be honoured by the agency.
The NOA DG, who eulogised the exemplary life of the taxi driver, said every Nigerian “who toed the path of honesty and displayed a rare integrity must be celebrated.”
He said that for Fashola to have shown courage by stopping the soldiers on the lane meant only for BRT buses, NOA would not hesitate to honour him.
Omeri said the award would be given to any Nigerian, irrespective of status or class that showed act that depicted the values and culture of Nigeria.
The DG said that those harbouring a negative idea about Nigerians should change their impression, adding that peace, honesty and love should be taken as “a Nigerian factor.”
He said that for Usuah, a taxi driver, to have returned N18 million showed that Nigeria still had men and women of integrity.
Usuah, who plies Airport Road, Abuja said he was at the car wash when he discovered there was a bag left behind by a man he had earlier dropped off at a hotel. He said he immediately returned it.
“My mind went back to the man whom I dropped at the hotel and I immediately alerted my chairman. He instructed me to go back to the place where I dropped him. I saw him and delivered his bag to him,” the taxi driver said.
Mr. Oche Elias, who represented the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, said it was a rare display of honesty.
He added, “”It was a huge act of integrity and trust exhibited by Usuah.” He said that with that act, the country’s image was being corrected. He also urged all Nigerians to be involved in the management of the country’s image.
Elias said the aviation ministry would organise a dinner in the taxi driver’s honour to show to the world that integrity pays.