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|Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by Phemour(m): 4:12pm On Aug 23, 2008|
Samuel Tarzaa is a 37-year-old indigene of Buruku Local Government Area of Benue state. He works at Peniel Apartments, a set of luxury accomodation in Wuse II, Abuja. His salary is nothing spectacular but he came upon N95 million naira and returned it to its owner. In a country where poverty is pervasive, Tarzaa’s conduct drew condemnation, while others hailed his honesty. But what does Tarzaa think, after returning the cold, hard cash? Weekly Trust asks him.
Weekly Trust: It was reported that you found a huge amount of money in hard currency but returned it to its owner. Could you tell us what happened exactly?
Samuel Tarzaa: I work with Peniel Apartments in Wuse, as a housekeeper. So, on that fateful day - I cannot remember the date precisely - but it is around December 2005, a foreign guest gave me his suits that I should give it to the laundry. Normally, when I am given clothes, I just hand them over to the guys in the laundry but that day, my mind was telling me to search. So I searched. I found some hard currency: dollars, pounds, euros and yen. When I searched the other suits, I found additional money and an international passport.
WT: Was anybody with you or watching you?
Tarzaa: I was all alone and no one was watching me.
WT: So what did you do when you found the money?
Tarzaa: You know that all-too-human thing called temptation. It stepped in. The issues of buying a car, marriage, owning a house and furthering my education, which all required money, crossed my mind. First, I thought of running away with the entire money. On second thought, I considered taking away half or a part of the money, but I said to myself ‘it is better to give the whole money than to take some from it’. I then made up my mind that I would return the whole money. I reported to my supervisor, Mr. Cornelius, narrating to him what happened and he was shocked.
WT: Did you contemplate sharing the ‘jackpot’ with your supervisor?
Tarzaa: No, no, no. My supervisor was shivering and he asked me what I was going to do with it. I told him my mind, and he said to me that it was the best thing to do. We counted the money and tried to determine the amount in Nigerian naira, which was over 90 million naira. Later, we discovered it was actually 95 million naira.
WT: So how did you hand over the 95 million to the owner?
Tarzaa: I went to see the owner, a General in the Ivorian Army, but he had left for Minna for a programme. I waited up to 8:00pm but he had not returned still, so I went to see the Night Duty Officer. I recorded the denominations of the currencies before I handed it over. The Night Duty Officer assured me that he would hand over the monies to the General. Unfortunately the Ivorian never returned that day. So, the next day, Wednesday, myself, the supervisor and the Night Duty Officer went and handed over the money to him.
WT: In appreciation, how much did he give you?
Tarzaa: Well, he was shocked and wondered how he could be so careless and forgetful. He started counting dollars to give to me when the interpreter spoke French to him and I saw him change his mind and he gave me naira. When I counted the 200 naira notes, it was N8,800 naira. I think the guy did not know the value of our money. Maybe he thought he had given me a lot of money. He promised to get back to me before he leaves Nigeria, but he never did and the interpreter promised to recommend me to the management of Penial Apartment. I am not sure if he did.
WT: At the time this thing happened, how much was your salary and where were you living?
Tarzaa: At that time my take-home pay was about N11, 000 and there is what we call Service Charge which sometimes amounts to about 7,000 a month depending on profits recorded in a month. I was renting a shack at a settlement called Gishiri, opposite NICON Junction.
Actually I am yet to complete my marriage rites with my wife-to-be, I need a car to work relatively comfortably in Abuja and even pay my house rent, but all that couldn’t make me veer off the straight path I decided upon, thankfully.
WT: You were earning that low and needed a car, yet you returned millions?
Tarzaa: I did. I would not have had peace of mind if I had run away with the money, bought cars with part of it or married. It may all end up in disaster. I would not have taken the money, no matter the case.
In any case, if I have N95 million, I’d use it to help my community. I am from a place in dare need of development. My community, Binev District of Aguda village has no electricity, water or hospital. I’d love to be able to provide all these. I will also want to further my education with a degree in Public Administration or Accounting because I only have a diploma. I think I love Canada as a place to study. I have dreams. I am the third child in the family of 17 children, and I will like to train my younger ones.
WT: Do you regret returning the money?
Tarzaa: I have no regrets. In fact, I am very happy now because it has won me awards and recognition. Peniel Apartments rewarded me with a 21-inch television and posted me to the accounts section of the establishment as a sign of trust. My Pastor, Sarah Omakwu, gave me 100,000 naira. Then MTN invited to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," where I won 250,000 naira and they gave me additional 250,000 naira. Now I have a car. I have equally received awards from Nigeria Youths and a magazine. I have no regrets. If I had not returned the money, Weekly Trust would not have traced my house to interview me (laughter).
My wife, Bukola, and my family back home praised me, but there were rumours that my father disowned me because of that and I said they are unaware that my father died in 1994 and were he alive, he would commend me because that was what he stood for, honesty. Not to sound preachy, but we should be honest and prove that Nigerians are trustworthy.
WT: You got N8,800 for returning N95 million…if the scenario repeats itself, would you act differently?
Tarzaa: Again and again, I will return what is not mine to the rightful owner.
|Re: Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by dydx unit(m): 7:43pm On Aug 23, 2008|
men the guy done fuckup.
|Re: Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by Harlems: 1:10am On Aug 24, 2008|
De guy try sha!E be like say de guy na correct guy but nor b AREA na im cause am,because if na me i nor go return am ohhhhhhhhhhh.True to God.
|Re: Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by abes(m): 8:19am On Aug 24, 2008|
i would have opened a foreign account if it was me
|Re: Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by Phemour(m): 5:31pm On Aug 24, 2008|
is just unfortunate that the oyibo man decided to give him NAIRA he no knw say naira na bad money
|Re: Man Finds, Returns N95m …rewarded with N8,000 by bodemoses0: 4:33am On Aug 25, 2008|
Damn it, so people like this still exist in naija, he try oo but me I swear, EFCC no fit bleeping do anything with me and that money oo cos na abroad sure pass, but come to think of it, that oyinbo cruel well well ooo, 8500 in return for such millions, he go lost am for another place I know, that one come dey talk of who wants to be a millionaire when he was already a millionaire and threw the key to his millions room away, lol
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