A security guard with the United Bank for Africa, Mohammed Ogbanago, who returned $10,000 (about N2.8m) misplaced by a customer, has said he was ridiculed for the action.
He explained that he returned the money to show that all Nigerians were not corrupt and to set a good example for Nigerian youths.
Our correspondent was told that the Kogi State indigene earns N30,000 (about $100) per month.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the 29-year-old had on April 7, 2016, found the $10,000 close to the main gate of the Oba Akran branch of the UBA, where he worked as a security guard.
The money was said to have fallen from an $84,500 withdrawn by a bank customer.
The security guard was said to have taken the money to the bank’s operation manager, who then handed it over to the customer when he revisited the bank.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu, hosted Ogbanago at the bank’s corporate headquarters on the Lagos Island.
He was reportedly applauded by the bank’s leadership for the action, which it said was exemplary.
The bank repeatedly promised to give him a letter of commendation for the ‘unusual’ conduct.
Elumelu, who posted his meeting with Ogbanago on his official Instagram page, said, “When I heard about this story, I knew I had to meet the man, who despite facing rising petrol and transportation prices and ‘tomato Ebola,’ returned such a huge sum of money.”
During a chat with PUNCH Metro, the guard, who graduated from the Kogi State College of Education in 2012, said good upbringing helped him to resist any temptation to abscond with the money.
He added that the story of an airport cleaner (Josephine Agwu), who returned the N12m she found at her work place, also inspired him.
He said he had boasted to his friends that he would do better if he had the chance.
He said, “And my chance came on that day. I was coming from inside the bank when I saw the money on the ground and I decided that the best thing was for me to take it to the operation manager. The owner of the money later came to ask for it.
“After I did that, some people started ridiculing me that I shouldn’t have returned the money and that I should have considered my meagre salary before letting go of such a huge sum of money. But I felt I did the right thing. If I had, for instance, taken the money away and fled to my village, it would not be a case of misplaced money again, but stealing, and I could even be declared wanted.”
Ogbanago, who said he aspired to public leadership, said his action was to show that not all Nigerians were corrupt.
“Although my salary may not be enough for my upkeep, especially with the current economic situation in the country, it is no excuse to take what is not mine.
“I have been campaigning that to make Nigeria great, we all must prove to be good Nigerians in our small corners. Not all Nigerians are corrupt.
“I am happy I had the chance to prove myself and I want other Nigerian youths to learn from it. I want our youths to know that a good name is better than riches,” he added.