Thirty-two-year-old Ephraim Luka is an indigene of Akwanga in Nassarawa State who has unwittingly taken on the cloak of one of Abuja’s ‘Good Samaritans.’
In an era of immense poverty and want ravaging the land, the young man who is under-employed has found a way of reaching out to the needs of others despite his own challenges.
In so many cases that even himself has lost count, he has found expensive items (phones, wristwatches, ATM cards, jewellery, cash and valuable documents) lost by Abuja residents and returned same safely to those who own them.
He says this is a ‘gift’ that he has continued to explore. He explains that most items that many people will not easily see even both at daytime and nighttime are easily seen by him.
”I cannot just explain it. Many times, while going on the road, I will see items, many times expensive phones lying on the road and I will be wondering why people did not see such. I usually pick this and return the items to the owners.
“In almost all cases, I always get the owners to come for them through the phone number in such phones. It is only one ATM card I have not been able to get the owner to come for out of all the numerous items I have picked over the years. When I took the card to the bank, they refused to collect it saying it had expired anyway” he says.
Pressed to give an estimate of the number of such items, he simply says: ”even myself, I have forgotten. They are so many. Through that, I have made a lot of friends.”
Some of the items, he has picked over the years, he usually takes to ‘Hembelembe’, a popular interactive radio programme where missing and returned items are announced regularly. ”I am a known face there,” he adds.
The son of a retired soldier who was brought up in Kaduna in a family of seven says the early training on morals he got from his father perhaps helped him to always look at how to protect people’s interest especially by returning their missing items when found.
”I got the training from my father who always taught me to be honest in all my dealings. He taught me to always fight for the good of others. He said one can only attain success through hard work and God’s blessings and not dishonesty. The items I found and returned cannot make me rich. Even if they do, the riches will not last,” he says.
He also says his religious leaning equally helps him to stay on track when he sees such missing items.
”God did not create us humans with bad habits. We are created in His image hence we must do the right thing always. We are preparing to love with Him (God) in eternity so we must do things to earn His reward,” he adds.
Unmarred, he jocularly narrates an experience when he found an expensive phone and called the owner to come and pick it up at his home in Mararaba.
”Two girls of Benue origin came to pick the phone and when they saw the ‘small’ kind of place I was staying and looked again at the expensive phone I was returning to them, they just gawked at me. One of them even asked, ”where is my wife and children” and when I said I had none, they started smiling at each other. But I was not concerned about what they were thinking. I was just glad I had returned the property,” he recalls.
A Premium Times journalist, Tosin Omoniyi recalls how Mr Luka picked up all his essential documents, including an electronic tablet worth over a N100, 000, cash, ATM and identity cards and returned same to his home tracking him through the information he was able to garner from the items.
"I just looked at the young man and wondered, really!. So we still do have such persons in Nigeria. I had already lost hope of getting the items but I just said a little prayer: God send an angel to pick the items and I will believe that angels still do walk the streets of Abuja. Then I saw him at my door a few hours later with the lost items, Yes, we really do need more people like Ephraim in Nigeria, There is yet hope for us in Nigeria,” Omoniyi said.