Nigerian Cleaner Finds Lost Duffle Bag With $60,286, Handover to Authority and She’s Awarded Salary Increase from $40 to $75 per Month
Josephine Ugwu from Nigeria works as a cleaner at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. She happened to stumble upon a bag at the airport’s toilet facilities, and within that bag there was N12 million ($60,286). Being the honest person that she is, Josephine did the right thing and handed over the bag to the authorities.
Days later the airport decided to reward her honesty, with a salary increase. Previously Josephine earned N251 ($1.3) per day, totaling to N7,800 ($40) per month. After being rewarded, she now earns N15,000 ($75) per month. If you look at it, Josephine has all the reasons to smile to the bank. I mean, she has received 92% salary increase! Why won’t she be skipping with joy all the way to the bank?
But if you look at it from another angle, Josephine’s old salary was $1.3 per day, enough to buy her a loaf of bread and a 35 g sachet of milk. With her 92% increased salary of $2.4 per day, she can now afford to buy herself a whole ‘plate of food’ at a local restaurant.
However, according to World Bank’s categorization of extreme poverty, Josephine income of $2.4 per day, is just barely a dollar above the classification of extreme poverty. So she has moved from being ‘very very poor’ to just ‘very poor’.
Taking another angle look at it, had she kept the N12m ($60,286). She probably would have quite working as a cleaner at the airport. Her not so legal stash of cash would have accorded her a salary of N15,000 ($75.36) per month and N180,000 ($904) pay per year. The N12m would have been enough to pay her for the next 66 years and about seven months.
There is a saying that goes; there is always some bad in good and some good in bad. Well, I don’t know which expression would fit describing had she kept the money and that she didn’t keep the cash. You be the judge!
In the ‘typical’ Nigerian scenario, there would have been no negative repercussions. Well, not including the guilt from her personal consciences and having sinned according to the teachings of the good ‘Book’. According to Ventures Africa, the inefficiency of the Nigerian law enforcement agencies with regards to conducting an investigation, Josephine could have disappeared with the N12m without a trace. Just like the investigations into the killing of Chief Bola Ige.
You would not even expect backlash in terms of public perception condemning her moral compass. Especially not in a country said to have corrupt politicians and shady businessmen who not only adored, but also worshiped. If anything, Josephine could be given a chieftaincy title.
But Josephine decided to do the ‘surprising thing’ and handed over the money to the authority. However, the Nigerian public has very little positive remarks to say about her if the following tweets are anything to go by:
So, the question is: Does it pay to be an honest and law abiding citizen in Nigeria?
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She was later honored with an unannounced cash donation by Lagos based Humanitarian organization, Voice of Change Network International.