Succour as Kogi amputee vulcaniser gets multi-million naira equipment
Last week will remain memorable for Dauda Sheidu, a 40-year-old amputee vulcaniser, as the news filtered that Kogi State Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP in the 2019 election, Natasha Hadiza Akpoti, has acquired a multimillion naira state-of-the-art equipment for him.
Sheidu, who is based in Agassa, Okene Local Council was said to have lost his right arm in an accident in 2002.
Undaunted and seeking to be relevant to himself and his society, he acquired some skills and has since continued to discharge his duties as a vulcanizer, a husband and a father.
However, his operation would be made easier and seamless as the equipment, which comprises a tyre changer and wheel balancing is not commonly used by roadside vulcanizers in Nigeria due to the high cost of acquiring it.
Only a few well-heeled auto-service and tyre centres in the cities have equipment.
Speaking in a Facebook Live video shortly after the German-made European Twin Busch machine was delivered to her house in Abuja, an elated Akpoti, expressed optimism that the gesture would strengthen the faith of other persons living with disabilities in the knowledge that there is indeed ability in disability.
She expressed delight over the timely delivery of the multi-million naira equipment, which was shipped into Nigeria from Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a shipping cost of over a million naira.
Narrating her connection to Sheidu’s story and what inspired her choice of gift, Akpoti said: “Some months ago, the story of a particular artisan (vulcaniser) from Okene in Kogi State went viral on BBC that he needed a particular tool to ease his trade, and then I made a request asking him what he wanted. I think he responded last month. The gentleman requested some tools.
“I happened to be in London. So, I went online to search for the very best that I could afford. I placed the order while I was in London. I did not want to go for the Chinese version. So I went for something that was made in Germany. So this is one of the best tools, all pure steel.”
While acknowledging the efforts of Dr. Okeme Arome for bringing Dauda’s story to public view, Akpoti noted a lack of attention to the gentleman’s requests by the well to do persons in the society, despite the viral video of him done by the BBC.
She called on those in authority, and other well to do individuals to always give priority to issues that concern the less privileged and vulnerable people in the society.
“I would like to also give credit to Dr. Arome Okeme for first making a video of the gentleman during our Senatorial Campaigns and bringing him to light upon which the BBC News Pidgin took over and made a broadcast of him. I think that was actually one of the most-watched BBC clips. It gained about seven million views and it was shared over 55,000 times. But I was surprised that even at that, no one was able to buy the gentleman his tools.
“I mean prayers are important but sometimes we should actually try to go beyond prayers. When I asked him if he had got any tools he said no. I said okay. Being from the same state, the same Senatorial District as the gentleman, it was only humane and responsible of me to have done that. Like I said, what is more, important to me and the joy is that I was able to afford a European all-steel, a solid equipment for the gentleman,” she added.
Akpoti further unveiled her plans of meeting with and personally handing over the machine to the industrious vulcaniser as part of the events to mark her 42nd birthday.