By Samson Echenim
A cab driver at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos has narrated how he found a sum of $2,400 (about N888,000) in his car and returned same to the owner.
Adeniyi Olayinka, a member of the Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, said the money and an international passport had been forgotten by a passenger in his car.
Olayinka told journalists at the airport that he discovered the items in an envelope left behind by the passenger on the back seat of the car shortly after he returned to the airport from Ibese Ikorodu, the destination of the passenger.
The driver who doesn’t have a car of his own, but works as commissioned driver to another member of the association, 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. Because it would create sorrow in
another family and also such idea is against the orientation we are given at ACHAN by our leaders,” he said.
Explaining how he found the money and the passport, Adeniyi who has been operating in the airport for fifteen years said: “At about 1:30 am on Monday, I met this passenger on arrival at Murtala Muhammed
International Airport, Lagos. I negotiated with him and we agreed at N6000 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 envelope 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 US currency. They were in $100 denomination. I counted and they were 24 in number totalling $2,400. When converted at prevailing rate of N370 as at Monday morning, it amounted to N888,000”.
Based on the orientation and instructions they receive from the leadership of ACHAN on weekly basis, Adeniyi said he reported the findings to the officer on duty at the arrival car park of the airport, stressing that he was instructed to drop the parcel and its contents at their secretariat at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
He further explained that since he didn’t have the passenger’s phone contact, he had to go to the place he dropped him to inform him or his family member of the discovery.
“But by the time I got to the passenger’s home at Ibese -Ikorodu, I was told he had returned to the airport to look for the lost parcel. As I was leaving the house in Ikorodu, I got the call from our secretariat that the passenger was already in the airport to report the loss”.
Speaking on the recovery, the passenger, Dele Ayeni, who said he was a living testimony to the advantages of taking cabs from registered point at airports, believes there is hope for Nigeria in many way.
According to him, “I arrived Lagos, Nigeria from Cairo on July 29, 2019 at about 1:30 am on Monday. My intention when I arrived was to call an Uber operator to pick me home as soon as I step out of the terminal building. But as I was coming out of the terminal, I met this polite driver who agreed to take me to my destination at Ikorodu at an agreed price of N6000”.
He said while he was on the way, he decided to drop his jacket on the floor of the car to avoid been noticed that he was coming from an international trip sitting in the rear seat of the car.
“Immediately we got to my house in Ikorodu; I removed my jacket from where I had kept it and also my luggage, without noticing that the envelope in the jacket had dropped on the back seat of the car. Unfortunately, I didn’t open my luggage to bring out what I had for my family members until after I woke up at noon. That was when I discovered that the envelope was missing in my jacket. I exclaimed.
“I lamented that all my suffering during the trip has resulted to total loss. My wife began to calm me down. She advised that we should look around the compound to see if it dropped in the compound, but I said no that if it had dropped in the compound I would have seen it as I was bringing in my luggage. I insisted that it didn’t drop in the premises but in the cab.
“My wife then asked me of where I took the cab; I told her it was at the airport and she advised that I should go to the airport to inquire if it has been found. I told her I didn’t know the name of the driver or the vehicle number. However, with her encouragement I came to the airport and went to the car park where I boarded the cab”.
Worried about what had happened, he approached and complained to one of the drivers, who happened to be the duty officer for that shift.
“He asked me for my name and I told him. The next thing I noticed on his face was a broad smile; he then told me that the envelope was found in the car and has been deposited at their secretariat. And that the driver who took me home, had gone to my house again to inform me of the discovery. This is a living testimony that Nigeria has hope. We are not all bad people. I have started campaigning to people via social media to always patronise airport registered cabs”, he added.
Speaking while handling the items recovered in the car to the owner, Olubi Ojo, chairman, ACHAN MMIA Lagos, said Ayeni’s case was just one of the many cases the association handles on regular basis.
Ojo who recalled that one of his members once returned $15,000 left by a passenger in his car, urged Nigerian passengers to place the safety and security of their lives and properties above any amount
they may be charged by the registered airport cab operators because the benefits far outweighs the money paid