Nigeria: Airport Car Operator Returns Misplaced $2400, Passport To Passenger

One of the drivers of Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Mr. Adeniyi Olayinka has returned a sum of $2400 (N888, 000 when converted to Naira) and an international passport forgotten by a passenger in his car to the passenger.

Nigerian Car Operator Returns $2400, Passport To Passenger

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 destination of the passenger.

The driver who doesn’t have a car of his own, but works as a commissioned driver to another member of the association, said it never crossed his mind to covert another person’s belonging because it would put another family in sorrow and it is against the orientation given to every member of ACHAN in 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 totaling $2,400. When converted at prevailing rate of N370 as at Monday morning, it amounted to N888, 000. Based on the orientation and instructions we received from the leadership of ACHAN on weekly basis, I reported the findings to the officer on duty at the arrival car park of the airport. I was instructed to drop the parcel and its contents at our secretariat at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

“Since I didn’t have the passenger’s phone contact, I had to go to his the place where I 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, Engr. 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 ways.

“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 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.

“While on the way, I decided to drop my jacket on the floor of the car on getting 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.

“Unfortunate enough, I didn’t open my luggage to bring out what I had for my family members until after I woke up in the noon. That was when I discovered that the envelope was missing in my jacket. I exclaimed. I said 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 in 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. Immediately I 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.

Speaking while handling the items recovered in the car to the owner, the Chairman ACHAN MMIA, Lagos Elder Olubi Ojo said Engr. Ayeni’s case was just one of the many cases the association handles on regular basis.

Elder 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 outweigh the money paid.

“This is a regular occurrence in this airport, passengers forget many things such as passports, money and other personal belongings in our cabs, but they are very sure of finding them if truly the items are left in any of our cabs. We give regular orientation on why they should return to the secretariat any item found to have been left behind by passengers in their vehicles,” Elder Ojo said.

Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

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