The story of a 22-year-old tricycle rider has been the trending issue in Kano State and the surroundings, as well as the social media space. This is sequel to his proven and undoubted integrity and trust to return missing N15 million to the owner, who forgot it in his tricycle. The owner, who is from Chad Republic, broke in tears when he received the money and found that not a penny was touched.
The incident, which happened during the weekend, has attracted the attention of people who expressed divergent views. While the majority of the people are sending positive comments to the young man for his trust and integrity, others blamed him for returning the money, with some saying the stipend given to him in appreciation is small.
Auwalu Salisu, a resident of Haye in Yankaba, area of Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State metropolis, discovered the money, including CFA and Naira, inside his tricycle after dropping his passengers who boarded the tricycle from Yankaba. Although he didn’t know the exact amount, Salisu was shocked, and immediately returned to his mother.
Despite the hardship they are facing at home, and the fact that he doesn’t have his own tricycle, Salisu and his parents refused to touch the money, instead, his mother asked him to go and search for the owner, who was successfully traced through radio announcements. He was rewarded by the owner with the sum of N400,000.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust in their residence, Salisu said the fear of God and the right upbringing by his parents made him return the money. He said he has never had even one per cent of the money in his life. According to him, his parents have been cautioning him against taking what doesn’t belong to him.
Salisu, who couldn’t finish secondary school education because of hardship, said he dropped out from JSS2 and that from that time he had been riding tricycle on hire basis. He said he rides a tricycle every day and gets paid by the owner.
“When I saw the sack and discovered money inside, I first remembered the hereafter. I know even if I didn’t give them here, I will give them in the hereafter where there is no money to pay with. I know that the money didn’t belong to me, and I know the consequences of taking what is not legitimate to you.
“Also, my father is always telling me to avoid doing what is prohibited. That is why I didn’t even intend to take anything from the money. I didn’t tell anybody apart from my parents. The money spent three days in our house,” he said.
My friends called me mad
Speaking further, the young tricycle rider said while some people were commending him for the integrity he has shown, some of his friends said he is mad for returning the money. According to him, some even said he will never be rich.
“Some of my friends were not happy with what I did. But that is not a problem for me. So far as my conscience is clear, I am ok. They said I am mad and don’t know what I am doing. Some even said I will never be rich again, and that this is my first and last chance.
“While others are praising and commending me for what I did, people are trooping to our house to congratulate me and my parents for what I did. I appreciate Almighty God for that.”
Poverty not a reason to steal, cheat
His father, Malam Salisu Galadima, who is a butcher, along the popular Hadejia Road, said the difficulties they are facing don’t permit them to use what doesn’t belong to them, and that the money was with them for three days even while they couldn’t even afford to cook food.
The 10-man family leader said he is very proud of his son and appreciates the fact that he showcased a good character and trust that he has been teaching him.
“Whenever I am praying I pray for my children to be of good morals and character. I always caution them to be good and avoid whatever doesn’t belong to them. Immediately he approached me with the issue, I directed him to go back to where he picked the passengers.
“Throughout the three days, we were not at rest until the owner was discovered. The reason why we didn’t touch the money is because it is not our own. Poverty is not a reason that you will feed your family with non-legitimate money. We are in a difficult situation. We can spend a whole day without eating. But it is not our own money,” the father said.
Malam Galadima said with the money already delivered to the owner, he is now satisfied that his son has shown integrity, honesty and trust.
I checked on the money uncountable times every day – Mother
For Hadiza Muhammad Salisu, the mother of the young Auwalu, she couldn’t sleep for the three days the money was with them. Even though they don’t have money to feed themselves, the mother of eight said every few hours she checked on the money to ensure it was secured even during the midnight.
She said for the three days they had been with the money, they were eating garri, which they collected on credit. She said her children have been teasing her for remaining uncomfortable for the days.
“I was shocked when he came with the money. I asked him to return it, but he couldn’t trace the owners. All of us entered a dilemma because we didn’t know what to do. I then collected the money and put them inside sacks, wrappers and also put them inside the wardrobe. I wanted to hang them on a wall, but I later said it would be safer inside the wardrobe.
“My fear was that we shouldn’t betray trust. The money was like a trust, which we must deliver. I was afraid to lose my trust and that of my son. I checked on the money every few hours. In the middle of the night, I also woke up to check. My children were even saying it was too much, but I said no.
“This money belongs to someone, not ours. During those two to three days, we had nothing to eat. We ate garri of N150, even that one, I collected it on credit. We didn’t touch the money, it is better for us to stay in our poverty than to eat from that money,” she said.
Kano Assembly, CSOs, PCACC, others offer incentives
Following his viral video and reports from the media, many philanthropists, government officials and other members of the public deemed it necessary to appreciate and support the young boy. This, according to many, is to serve as encouragement to the younger ones to emulate his exceptional character.
Daily Trust gathered that a philanthropist who chose not to be named purchased a brand new tricycle, while the Arewa Consultative Forum honoured him and donated N100, 000. Similarly, the Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), appointed him as Ambassador of the commission and offered a donation of N100, 000.
Furthermore, members of the Kano State House of Assembly (KNHA), have promised to contribute some percentage from their salaries to the young tricycle rider.
This was sequel to a motion of personal explanation, sponsored by the member representing Doguwa constituency, Alhaji Salisu Muhammad, during plenary presided over by the speaker, Alhaji Isma’il Jibril Falgore.
During the plenary session, mover of the motion argued that the tricycle rider has proven his integrity by returning the missing money, despite his family’s condition, and the economic hardship in the country.
Responding, the speaker, Isma’il Jibril Falgore pointed out that the assembly would invite the tricycle rider to present their donation.
Meanwhile, with the integrity, honesty and trust shown, Auwalu Salisu is getting recognition from different personalities, which made him become the talk of the town.
Salisu, who said his dream is to go back to school, appreciated people for commending him, and urged the youth in the country to avoid whenever doesn’t belong to them. He urged them to be good ambassadors of the nation, adding that whoever stands by the truth will get his reward from Almighty God.