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It was exactly 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 at Ikeja, Lagos when the Staff of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) gathered at one of their conference rooms within the MMA2 terminal for an important meeting.
It was time for the presentation of the Employee of the Month Award. This monthly practice was put in place by management to motivate staff to be outstanding in their performance. On this particular day, Mrs. Evelyn Okosu, a Senior Aviation Security Officer, was the recipient of the award.
As her name was announced and her citation was read by her Unit Head, Evelyn broke down in tears, expressing her surprise and gratitude for the recognition. “I never knew people were watching,” the Edo State-born mother of two boys said when asked why she was crying.
Evelyn is a graduate of Mass Communications from Auchi Polytechnic with work experience in broadcasting.
Her career in the aviation sector began 17 years ago when she was employed at BASL. This had been a passion from childhood.
“I have always wanted to work in the aviation sector, but not as a security personnel,” she revealed, indicating her initial reservation for a job she would later fall in love with, and serve with utmost dedication.
“Yes, my father was in the Nigerian Army, but I initially did not like the idea of working as a uniformed officer at the airport. I would rather have been an Air Hostess if at all. But when I started this job, and I started receiving training from BASL, my confidence began to grow. I realised the dignity in the job and I started loving it,” she said.
For instance, the turning point for Evelyn on the Aviation Security job was the noticeable respect people showed for her whenever she introduced herself as an officer; “this amazed me a lot. It softened my heart and made me love the role even more,” she added.
Working as a Security Officer, however, has its challenges, and Evelyn knew this quite well. Whenever she faces challenges like unwarranted aggression from some passengers, she takes solace in the fulfillment that comes with the nobility of the profession. “The job is not an easy one. The most challenging part is how some passengers treat AvSec Staff (Aviation Security Officers), particularly when they are running late for their flight. At times they talk to you rudely, with no regard at all. I remember when a passenger called me a prostitute! I felt so bad. When I reported it to my supervisor, she advised me to shake it off, and said it was one of the downsides of the job,” the awardee recalled.
So, why did Evelyn receive the Employee of the Month award? Because she found a passenger’s missing laptop bag.
When asked, Evelyn shared the story. A female passenger that arrived at the MMA2 terminal on December 5, 2022, forgot to pick up her laptop bag that contained two laptops and some very important documents. Evelyn found the bag during a routine AvSec inspection. It was then screened to ensure it was safe for keeping, examined, documented, and stored for the rightful owner.
The owner showed up the following day to see if she would find the bag at the terminal before giving up on her search.
Alas, she found it!
“The following day was Tuesday, December 6. I was supervising at the Departure Screening Point when my supervisor called me. He said some ladies were asking if we had seen a bag containing laptops, so I brought the bag to my office.
The necessary clearance, I handed it over to the woman, and she started crying. She said the laptops, however valuable, were not nearly as important as the documents in the bag!
“She broke down in tears as she did not think she would ever find her bag again. She said she could not believe that honesty still exists in Nigeria, and I explained that there are indeed still honest people and organisations in the country. As a matter of policy, any lost item within the MMA2 terminal that has not been taken by another passenger will be kept safe when found until its rightful owner claims it. She offered me money and I respectfully rejected it. I told her I was only doing my job.”
Moved by her experience with Evelyn, the elated passenger took to social media to sing the praises of Evelyn Okosu, BASL, and MMA2.
“When my mum, sister, and husband saw all her social media posts, they were so proud of me. They said they had always known me as an upright person that would bring honour to the family,” Evelyn said, still shedding tears of joy.Google+