When Ibrahim Mohammed Ogbanago found an opened envelop with $10,000 (about 3.5 million naira) at the gate of the bank, where he worked as a security guard, he returned the money to the bank. The incident took place last year July. Ogbanago’s monthly salary was just about $100 (30,000 Naira).
The money was reportedly dropped by a bank customer who withdrew $84,500. Ogbanago took the money he found to the bank’s operation manager who then gave the money back to the customer.
Ogbanago, a graduate of Kogi State College of Education, was invited to the bank’s corporate headquarters on the Lagos Island, where he met with the Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu.
Elumelu wrote on social media:
“When I heard about this story, I knew I had to meet the man who despite facing rising petrol & transportation prices and “tomato ebola” returned such a huge sum of money without recourse to himself.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear him tell this story and about how he came to be in the board room with us. Even more surprising was hearing him speak about his passion for governance and integrity in leadership”.
“Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbanago is an exemplary ambassador of the UBA spirit and it was fulfilling to meet and reward him for his conduct. The @UBAGroup management is proud to have this caliber of staff at all levels. Congratulations to Mohammed and keep up the good work” Elumelu added.
Despite his good, Ogbanago received torrents of insults but he stood by his action. He said. “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.”
The 29-years-old added, “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.”
Ogbanago was inspired by the story of another Nigerian, Josephine Agwu, an airport cleaner who found 12 million Naira and returned it. When he heard the story of Josephine Ugwu, he promised himself if he found himself in such a position, he would do the same. Ogbanago said, “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.”
On the 15th of April, during the UBA CEO Awards, almost a year later, Ogbanago dressed in a tuxedo didn’t know the many surprises that awaited him. In the presence of guests, Mohammed Abubakar, governor of Bauchi State said he would be giving Ogbanago a sum of $5,000. This cash gift, he said was not in the capacity as governor but on a personal capacity. On the podium beside him was the Governor of Adamawa State who outdid governor Abubakar and said he’d give a sum of $10,000. This was just the beginning of the night. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ikweremadu recognized the character of Ogbanago and spoke on how the media was always awash with negative news about Nigerians. This good news was a much needed relief. He further said that in agreement with his colleagues at the senate, on Tuesday in a plenary sitting he would announce uncommon character of a Nigerian. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would also give Ogbanago a sum of Naira 5 million.
Many others made their own contributions privately. Ogbanago has aspirations towards leadership and service. This example will hopefully be a shining light to other Nigerians especially the youths.