How Uzodinma’s Aide returned lost $1.2 million in Israel

"I know that if people with able bodies had picked up the money, they would not have returned it. But God wanted me, the physically challenged, to pick it in order to return it to the owner, and that was exactly what I did..."

Dr. Samuelson Emehibe

The Nation reports how Dr. Samuelson Emehibe, the Special Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma on Persons with Disabilities returned $1.2 million belonging to a Polish American upon arrival on pilgrimage in Israel in spite of the temptation to steal the money that would have turn around his fortune as a disabled person.

Emehibe shared his experience with The Nation. He said “I was struggling with my luggage and a European man and his children were also struggling with his own luggage. In the process of carrying the bags, he did not know that one of them had dropped. So he carried his children and other bags and started going.

“I watched the man and found that the bag had mistakenly dropped off. I picked it up and started calling the man but he refused to answer. You know white people; they always think when an African or black man is calling them, the person wants to dupe them. He didn’t want to answer me until somebody called his attention and he turned back to look at the person that was calling him.”

Emehibe continued: “I raised the big bag up and he immediately left the other bags with his children, ran towards me and hugged me. He said where are you from? I said Nigeria. In disbelief he said Nigeria? I said yes. He said Nigeria, I hail you. He hugged me again and again. Then he opened the bag and said what is here is 1.2 million dollars for a transaction.

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“He said I know you didn’t open it, but I want to open it to show you what you have done for me. He opened it and behold, the bag was full of dollars. In any case, I wanted to leave him because I was rushing to get to my room and nobody could help me at that point. I also wanted to leave so they would not term it that I was a thief because they said that cameras were there and they could turn it around that I was a thief. So I said let’s get out of the place as quickly as possible.”

Emehibe said as I made to leave, he said stop, and I stopped. He said come, come I want to have a picture with you. He used his camera and snapped a picture of both of us. He said he wanted to have my particulars and I dipped my hand into my pocket and gave him my complimentary card. Immediately he said bye-bye after hugging me again, and I ran away.

On how he felt for returning a sum that could have turned his fortunes around, Emehibe said, “I feel happy because when I was calling him and he did not answer, what I could have done was to open my big bag, drop the money into it and go my own way. But I cannot do that and couldn’t have done it because my conscience would not allow me to do so. I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. I know that with God, all things are possible; that God will surely reward me. I came to the holy land and from the holy land I would be blessed forever.”

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Emehibe also said “I only want to thank my governor for sponsoring 1000 persons from Imo State to the pilgrimage. It was such a wonderful trip. So, for me, picking that money that amounts to almost N1 billion made me understand that it pays to be good. My spirit is uplifted. Myself, my family,  children, relations and friends are all happy.”

Emehibe however said not every one was happy with his noble actions. He said “Only a few disgusted elements were telling me why didn’t I keep the money. They said why didn’t I give it to them to keep for me so that I would give them a percentage of it when we returned to Nigeria? I said no, what I did is my conscience. I have done what my conscience told me to do and I will never go astray.

“I have done what God wants me to do and I am very happy whether somebody thanked me or not. In fact, I want to thank myself for not falling into temptation; they did not say I stole the money. I was thanking God for helping me to deliver the money to its owner. I repeat: I am very happy and I thank the governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma. He is a God-sent. Satan wanted to use that area to come and destroy me  but it did not work.”

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Emehibe said his walk on the path of righteousness had started it before he left for Israel: “I believe that my people will know that in every decade there is always a leader that will equally lead them in honesty and dedication. But you may not understand or appreciate until the person goes away. I am very optimistic that my people, especially the special citizens of Imo and Nigeria, will emulate what I did because it is worthy of emulation. They should channel their spirits and souls into something good; not evil. They should not be annoyed at any time because as God has made us to be people with disabilities, there are other areas He favoured us and did not favour others.”

He opined that not everyone would have returned the money. According to Emehibe, “I know that if people with able bodies had picked up the money, they would not have returned it. But God wanted me, the physically challenged, to pick it in order to return it to the owner, and that was exactly what I did. I know that another thing that God wanted to do with me, He knew that money would get lost on that day but He used me to return it.”

Emehibe however advised Nigerians to “Do good things at all times and emulate good leaders like Hope Uzodimma. It pays to be good.”

With Reports by Chris Njoku, The Nation