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  As opposed to mischievous notions being peddled around the international and local space, Nigerians are good and honest people. Ikenna Nweke shot to fame early in July when Nigeria’s Diaspora Commission praised him for his act of honesty. The Nigerian, who was a PhD student in Japan, had found a missing wallet containing some money and had taken it to the police. He also refused the Japanese authorities’ offer of 10% of the money returned.
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“The likes of Mr Nweke have portrayed the image of Nigerians in the Diaspora as a unique, honest, and cultured set of immigrants,”
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, had said. President Buhari also commended Mr Nweke for his action and urged Nigerians to emulate his example. But Mr Nweke remains modest about what he did. He attributes his response to his Christian faith, and to being “raised by responsible parents.”

Ikenna Nweke’s Background

Nweke wasn’t born into wealth. His father was a truck pusher, and his mother sold yams at a local market in Onitsha, where the family lived. In a recent interview, he described his upbringing as both fun and strict.
“My father was a very strict disciplinarian,” he recalls. “I later grew up to understand what he was doing. We lived in an environment where a lot of young people engaged in crime. He didn’t want his own children to do the same.”
After his primary and secondary education, he obtained a Diploma in Journalism from the Enugu State Institute of Technology (ESUT). Then in 2013, he won a scholarship from the Japanese government to study in Japan (after applying and passing a test).
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Having started as an undergraduate, Nweke is now a PhD student at Tsukuba University. He’s also a teaching assistant at the institution.

The Day that Put Him in the Spotlight

Nweke recalls the moments leading up to his now famed status. He was returning from the university and decided to buy his wife her favourite meal—kebab –as a surprise treat.
“While I was climbing the stairs, I found a wallet—more like a big purse –on the ground.”
He describes his first impulse at the time.
“At first I took a picture of it, intending to show it to my wife. Then I opened it…and I realized that this was a serious situation.”
Nweke found that the wallet contained several 10,000 yen notes– each worth about $100. There were a few Euro notes as well. But he says he didn’t count the money. He took it straight to the police. The policemen seemed surprised that he would report the item to them.
“One of the officers asked me why I didn’t take the money. I told him there was no need for that because I was raised by responsible parents and that I am also a Christian.”
According to local law, persons who returned lost money were entitled to 10% of the amount. But when the offer was extended to him, he declined it. The Lesson: Virtue Always Trumps Illicit Gain Mr Nweke’s story provides us with a number of lessons. First, a background lacking in privilege is not an excuse for dishonesty. Also, we can be honest not just for the material gain that may come from it, but because honesty raises the dignity of the person who practices it. Featured Image Source: Aledeh
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This article was first published on 18th July 2020


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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