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Taxi Driver who Returned N18million Forgotten in his Cab in 2007 gets N2.5million Reward from SEC



It might have taken 5 years, but he finally got a handsome cash reward.

In 2007, Imeh Usuah, a taxi driver at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja picked up some passengers from the Airport, two foreigners, and dropped them at the Hilton Transcorp hotel in Maitama area in Abuja. Unknown to the passengers and to him, they forgot a bag tucked underneath the seat which contained N18million.

He returned the bag with the money still intact to them at the hotel when he discovered it and since then, he has become some sort of overnight celebrity. However, despite the recognition and awards he has received for his honesty, this is the first time he will be given such a handsome cash reward for his action.

On Tuesday 25th September, 2012, Mr Usuah emerged the winner of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC), maiden Integrity Award.

Mr. Usuah, accompanied with his wife, was awarded a plaque and N2.5 million for his honesty.

He had earlier been acknowledged and commended by different groups in the country. The 69 year-old taxi driver had received awards from the Nigeria Network of Women and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Also the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has given him an award and $200 for his honesty.

The Director- General of SEC, Arunma Oteh, said that the award was the commission’s contributions toward the promotion, recognition and reward for integrity.

“Usuah’s exemplary act of honesty and integrity had sprinkled a burst of refreshing dew upon the national consciousness,” Premium Times quoted her as saying.

In his response, Mr Usuah commended the commission for the gesture and devoted the award to the “unsung honest and committed Nigerians across the country.”

Photo Credit: NAN

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. tb

    September 26, 2012 at 7:31 am

    y did u put his picture….dey go rob am….lolllll
    on another note it is sad that honesty in nigeria is a rare trait that needs to be acknowledge…

  2. simdamsel

    September 26, 2012 at 7:37 am

    No matter how long it take,HONESTY pays.

  3. @_Iyore

    September 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Even though it took years, I’m glad they acknowledged him. He deserves it.

  4. Florence

    September 26, 2012 at 7:53 am

    What!! I get to be the 2nd to comment? Yahhhhh.. #Dancing#
    But on a more serious note, God will definitely bless this man. I remember an incident that happened to a friend. He took a taxi frm the airport in that Abuja and he forgot his new Nokia Communicator (it was then the big boys phone) in the taxi. Realizing his mistake and having been dropped off at the hotel, he dial his number and the taxi man picked. The following ensued, MY FRIEND: oga abeg, I forget my phone for your car. You just drop me for Rockview Hotel. DRIVER: ehen, so? I don see am. Forget am oo, buy another. Shebi you get money na!!

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 26, 2012 at 9:28 am


  5. Austin Uche

    September 26, 2012 at 8:22 am

    How wonderful….. Even if u dnt get cash reward for ur honesty or for any outstanding thing u do, it is the right thing to do, and that shld always be the most important reason why we shld do good(becoause its d righte tin to do)… And yes, God will neva forget ur good deeds and posterity will always remember ur noble act… Kudos tho to those ppl dah acknowledge a gud deed. Nice one

  6. Jay

    September 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

    It pays to be an honest person, may many others follow suit and be blessed for it.

  7. Mama t

    September 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Truth and honesty aee two brodas that can never be seperated. Anyone who happened to be close to this two brodas always get a reward it pay to be honest. I encourage my fellow citizen to put up an act of honesty it will help in develiping our dear country Nigeria.

  8. Priscy

    September 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Honesty Always Pays…

  9. Teeenaaa

    September 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

    wow, a few good men around… God jst has a way of rewarding sincerity, though it might take a while, buh its sure!

  10. shay shay

    September 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Even though I suspect this as one of Oteh’s many strategies to forcefully remain in SEC, it doesn’t change the fact that this man deserves it and MUCH MORE. 18m is no small money.

  11. dobis

    September 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

    worthy of emulation. trust & honestly surely pays, no matter how long, money or not.

  12. Jagunana

    September 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Na so god edey do oo peaply way dey fear god dem day oo

  13. Laiza Lounge

    September 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Awww! Honesty definitely pays. Our politicians should learn from this, lol. They should return all the stolen money

    • pretty

      September 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Na yam,na so dem dey return am

  14. Bay

    September 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

    If we Ave Honest people lyk dis Man.. D World wld b a Beta Place..He Deserves all Dese Awards nd May God continue to bless u

  15. idaz

    September 26, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Honesty always pays but not always in cash. We must never forget that. Even if this man got no cash reward, he still did the right thing.

  16. chinco

    September 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Honesty pays… But I also tnk God 4 internet banking

    • nma

      September 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      seriously why would you be caRryin that much money in cash AT LEAST THE DUDE WAS REWARDED

  17. Ozyy

    September 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

    GOD bless him

  18. molly

    September 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I think he should have got a lot more money!!

  19. Margaret Essien

    September 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Doing good is a good seed planted, like wise doing evil is also evil seed planted. Choose you this day, the kind of seed to plant, remember, one day, the seed you sow will grow & mature/ripe & bear fruits, & the time of harvest must surely come.
    You will only reap what you sowed! God bless everyone who hears, obey & do HIS WORD, in Jesus Name. Amen!

  20. Say the truth

    September 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

    “sprinkled a burst of refreshing dew upon the national consciousness”<— Ewwww, who talks like this?

  21. ladshow

    September 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

    That is a nice man

  22. john

    September 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

    That is a man of god

  23. X factor

    September 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

    cool gratuity for a 69 year old…

  24. isaid!

    September 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Please what is anyone doing carrying 18million in a taxi cab? whatever happened to bank transactions?

  25. judith

    September 26, 2012 at 11:25 am

    No matter the poverty he still honest! People like this are few. Most of driver are even praying for you to forget something, even when they see it they claim that they did not. May this man “s days be long

  26. Ewy

    September 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I am reluctant to comment to some post but I said to myself I have to comment on this.
    Firstly , I am happy this man got rewarded.
    2ndly . Why would a man who returned 18m illinois since 2007 get rewarded 2012? After 5 years? Omg . Does honesty pay??????? Does it?
    This is total rubbish , where they praying for him to die so he doesn’t get a reward atall.
    Meanwhile [email protected] 200 dollars given to the honest man by NATIONAL ORIENTATION AGENCY .
    Please how much is 200 dollars? 32, ooo. (Thirty two thousand Nara only) please for God sake you can do better. My county is very rich and we are blessed please we should encourage honest people in that way many people will turn a new leaf, also huge rewards should follow immediately not just an award with 200dollars a example of National orientation agency. Reward should not come late like 5years . SMH.
    We need to encourage people.

    • ...just saying

      September 27, 2012 at 7:24 am

      You clearly missed the point.

  27. purplepearl

    September 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    We still have some honest people around. Thank God

  28. Siteweh oluwatosin

    September 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    God bless the good honest man but the reward day is too far ooo please reward good people immediately

  29. Ade

    September 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Honesty does pay. God please help us all to be more honest in ALL our ways in Jesus Name-Amen. God is not mocked, whatever a man sows, so shall he also reap.

  30. Chattyzee

    September 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    While this is a commendable act, I want to know who carries 18 million naira in cash anyway? Furthermore, why did it take 4 years for him to get his reward? Isorraii

  31. debdara

    September 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    i don’t know why that MAN returned that money. all of u saying “honesty pays” will you do same.

  32. idaz

    September 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    you guys realise he was not owed a reward, right?
    This Nigerian mentality that you must be rewarded for doing the right thing is a very worrying mentality. going by the logic on this blog it seems only a reward of 18 million would have been adequate.
    Even if the man was not rewarded,he did the right thing and i expect him to do right again tomorrow.
    This desire for instant gratification has even been carried over into the church (or is that even where it originated from?). folks expecting God to meet them in kind cos they dropped a few coins in the bowl. Maybe when God himself starts putting a price tag to the air we breath amongst other things, our eyes go shine.

  33. Nk

    September 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    @idaz…. 100% true!!!!!
    Am glad they rewarded him though

  34. xbonny

    September 27, 2012 at 7:28 am

    indeed Honesty is the only way forward, just Imagine after four good years of returning the cash he found in his car … he was rewarded amazinly. Nigerians Let’s learn from it, and try to return other peoples belonging that does not belong to us… It’s well, we are good people, good nation

  35. Kongvong Manbyen Bulus

    October 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    May God give to do same. KUDOS to him!

  36. Debs

    January 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

    How can NOA give him $200???? some organizations make a mockery of honesty in this country.
    These are the kind of people GEJ should give national/monetary awards to. Alot of other people people would have kept the 18million cash , stopped work and relocate to his village and trust me those oyinbo’s wont find him.

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