By Gloria Okezie-OKAFOR
You may have heard the news when it made the rounds early this year –April to be precise. Yes, blogs and print media flashed them on their pages. It was the story of Charity Bassey, the cleaner who worked for Lakewood Development Company –a janitorial company perched with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria at the Murtala Muhammed International Air Port Ikeja Lagos.
The story had it that young Charity, a native of Akwa Ibom State, and the fourth child in her family, picked a whooping $6000 (approximately #2 000 000) tucked inside a nylon bag, from the floor of the rest room area after her attention was called to it by a passenger who had come to use the facility.
Further revelations showed that Charity took the money to the customer care unit of her company, and she was given hand gloves and asked to count it as the others appeared apprehensive to do so. The money which was in $100 bill was 60 pieces. From then onward, the story just wouldn’t die within the walls of Lakewood or even the departure wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Air Port. All thanks to the company’s receptionist who spewed the good news for all to hear. The owner of the money –it was gathered –later came for it.
Since that eventful day, humble Charity with a maximum of secondary school certificate, may just be on her way to stardom. Integrity pays, you would agree. Charity’s show of character and discipline had started to pay off through recognitions. The first of which was the FAAN AWARDS. And recently, miss Bassey was a recipient of Integrity awards at the just held PINK AWARDS in Lagos.
Simple and very humble, Charity shared the reactions which trailed her goodwill: ”there were mixed feelings from my colleagues. A lot of people think I was stupid, and even called me names. But from home, I was taught the value of integrity and honesty”, she says. On how her family felt after her courageous feat, she admitted that they were happy for her and have remained unwavering in their moral supports.
As an award recipient at the recently held PINK Awards which took place at Mimaya Event Centre in Lagos, miss Bassey who came wearing a pink jacket over a T-shirt and black pair of pants, got monetary gift of #50 000 in cheque from the wife of Ogun State governor, Dr. Mrs. Olufunso Amosun.
Speaking in lieu of this courageous feat, legendary human right activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said Nigeria needs more of Charity Bassey, especially at a time like this when people were going through tough times, and seeing such money, would amount to assuming it was an act of the divine, with the individual feeling compelled to keep the money for himself, thereby hiding any proof of it –afterall no one may get to find out.
This is not the first time Charity is said to have returned lost items in the range of cash, phones, or other valuables. On whether she did this for any form of rewards, she says:”no. I just feel that they should be returned. My happiness is for the returned items to reach their rightful owners”.