Daily Trust

I’ll not take what’s not mine – Driver who re­turned miss­ing N1.7m

- By Ibrahim Baba Saleh, Da­maturu Yobe State · Mai Mala Buni

The old prac­tice of “lost but found” seems to have lost ac­cept­abil­ity among peo­ple nowa­days, es­pe­cially where the item is of some value, like a size­able amount of money.

How­ever, the story is dif­fer­ent with Malam Kiri Umaru, a Da­maturu-based com­mer­cial driver, who re­turned over N1.7 mil­lion he found at dif­fer­ent times to their right­ful own­ers.

De­spite spend­ing about 40 years con­vey­ing pas­sen­gers and goods between towns and vil­lages in cars he drove for oth­ers, Umaru’s hon­esty has not al­lowed him to even think of keep­ing for him­self, the money he has found for­got­ten by their own­ers at var­i­ous places and times.

Aged 60, Umaru is mar­ried to two wives and has 12 chil­dren who all de­pend on what he gets from his job as a driver.

He said the last amount of money he found and re­turned to the owner was N1,380,000. He found it in a sealed bag and took it to the lead­er­ship of the driv­ers’ union to be re­turned to the right­ful owner.

Umaru ex­plained that he had loaded pas­sen­gers on his way to Gashua from Dapchi on that fate­ful day. “On ap­proach­ing Garin Al­kali from Baya­mari, I sighted a ny­lon bag aban­doned by the road­side and I be­came cu­ri­ous so I asked my pas­sen­gers to ex­cuse me and I parked.

“I took the bag but hid be­fore open­ing it, only to dis­cover that it was full of money. I put it in my car boot with­out in­form­ing any of the pas­sen­gers what I found.

“Upon reach­ing Gashua, af­ter all the pas­sen­gers have dis­em­barked, I drove to the lead­er­ship of my union, the road trans­port union. We counted the money to­gether and I handed all the money to them to find and hand it over to the owner.

“On re­turn­ing to Da­maturu, I re­ceived a call that the own­ers of the money had been found and they in­sisted they wanted to see me, but I told them I couldn’t re­turn to Gashua. They were so ex­cited and they thanked me im­mensely.

“You may not know it but that was not the only money I found and re­turned to their own­ers; I have at dif­fer­ent times also found N150,000, N50,000 and the last one was N1,380,000 and re­turned all the monies own­ers,” he said.

On what mo­ti­vated him to re­turn all money he found to their own­ers, Umaru said, “I pas­sion­ately be­lieve that what­ever I found not from my sweat is not meant for me.

“Of course money, over one mil­lion naira, was huge to any­one in my class; it can pay for a new car, and I found it all alone, with­out any­body know­ing, in­clud­ing my pas­sen­gers. But I would not have peace of mind if I hold on to it for my use. I may get in­volved in an ac­ci­dent and die in the car as the money is not my le­git­i­mate earn­ing.

“So I felt what­ever God has not or­dained for me would never come my way and I don’t de­mand any re­ward for do­ing what I be­lieve in.”

One of the union lead­ers, Saleh Bakoro, dis­closed that Umaru’s ges­ture has since earned him re­spect among his peers.

He said: “To be frank with you, many peo­ple want to hire him to drive their cars be­cause he al­ways makes pay­ment to the car owner as agreed.

“We never found him want­ing in all the years we have known him. He is al­ways hon­est. In fact, we all want to em­u­late him.”

He said Umaru had once re­turned N150,000 he found be­long­ing to a driver who had de­clined to give him a N3000 loan. ``He was lucky Umaru was the one that found the money.’’

For his un­com­mon at­ti­tude, the Net­work for Yobe Civil So­ci­ety Or­gan­i­sa­tions (NYCSO) has traced Kiri Umaru and pre­sented him with an award of ‘Am­bas­sador of Hon­esty and Con­tent­ment’.

While pre­sent­ing the award, the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the net­work, Al­haji Baba Shehu, noted that find­ing peo­ple such as Kiri Umaru is now very dif­fi­cult hence the need to hon­our him.

He also got cash sup­port of N250,000 and food items from Yobe State Gov­er­nor Mai Mala Buni in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of his hon­esty.

The do­na­tions, which were han­dled through the State Fo­cal Per­son for North East De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, Dr Ali Ibrahim Ab­bas, were meant to sup­port Umaru to keep to his good prin­ci­ple.

The gov­er­nor said the to­ken donation was also aimed at en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple from all walks of life to im­bibe hon­esty in what­ever they do.

 ??  ?? Malam Kiri Umaru (Cen­tre)
Malam Kiri Umaru (Cen­tre)

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