News about Nigeria on international media is rife on corruption, crime or other vices. Watching from afar, it’s easy to assume that all her citizens are dishonest. There have been several cases of selfless acts of honesty in the past by Nigerians. However, Aircraftman (ACM) Bashir Umar is the latest citizen to act contrary to this perceived stereotype.
Bashir Umar was part of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mobile Air Defense Team. He was deployed alongside a small team to the airport’s Hajj Camp Market in Kano on security duties on July 16, 2019. While on patrol, he found an envelope containing foreign currencies (€37,000). He didn’t disclose this to his colleagues. However, he called the number on the envelope and located the owner, Alhaji Ahmad and returned the parcel. Reacting to the heroic act, President Muhammadu Buhari said,
“Honesty and integrity will always remain admirable virtues, notwithstanding challenges before any country.”
How NAF rewarded Umar for his integrity
The NAF top officials were in praise of Bashir Umar’s honesty. According to Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Mr. Umar displayed an uncommon act of integrity. Abubakar further added that Bashir Umar’s action was in line with the core values of the Nigerian Air Force. Consequently, Abubakar approved a double promotion for Bashir Umar from Aircraftman to the rank of Corporal. It would have taken him at least ten years to reach that rank. In his speech, Abubakar said,
“I am proud to say that we have found in ACM Bashir the rare qualities we stand for in the Nigerian Air Force. The special promotion of ACM Bashir Umar to the rank of Corporal today apart from serving as a reward for good conduct is also to serve as motivation to other airmen/airwomen to aspire for such elevation.”
The award ceremony was held on July 25, 2019, at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters in Abuja. To attend the ceremony, NAF sent an aircraft to convey Bashir Umar and his parents to Abuja. Thus, this makes him the first non-commissioned officer in the history of NAF to receive such an honor. However, in addition to the promotion, he also got a letter of commendation from Abubakar.
A brief background of Bashir Umar
Bashir Umar was born to the family of Mallam Bashir Abdulmumuni and Salamatu Aliyu on 1st June 1995. They are natives of Maiha L.G.A of Adamawa State. Bashir Umar enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on the 1st of August 2016.
His Basic Military Training was at the Military Training Center, Kaduna. However, Umar is currently serving with the National Air Defence Corps (NADC), Ikeja, Lagos. He is attached to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport. As part of the Mobile Air Defence Team, they have the role of protecting the airfield around the airport. Bashir Umar said he would never have kept the money because it was against the teachings of the religious books.