An accident six years ago, leading to the amputation of his leg, has somehow brought some fame for Abdulraheem Idris. This is due to his strong will. He never allowed his physical challenge dampen his “can do” spirit.
The 30-year-old Ogun State-born Abdulraheem was an apprentice motor mechanic then, when he and others were directed to move a vehicle to their workshop in Kawo from the bye-pass.
“We were bringing the car when we had an accident along Mando Road. I sustained various degrees of injuries and my leg got infected so it had to be amputated. I have been living like that since then,” he told Daily Trust on Sunday.
However, what endeared Abdulraheem to many is that he defied all odds despite his challenge to do manual labour to fend for himself. In fact, he is a known figure along Ungwan Dosa-Kawo road in Kaduna metropolis, where he works as a labourer in an ongoing road construction.
Nonetheless, providence had not been kind to him. He noted that after finishing secondary school at Sardauna Memorial College, Kaduna, his father passed away.
“I had no resources to send myself to school. At that time my friend’s father used to repair television sets, so I started learning from him and later he passed away too,” he said.
According to him, it was after that he started training as a mechanic before he was involved in the accident. He said “Since that time, I became idle. I did not know what to do or where to start from so I decided to come and meet the workers at the construction site and asked if they could give me work to do.”
He said they asked him if he could dig and he answered in the affirmative. That was how he began manual work.
Abdulraheem explained that he and those supervising the construction have become so close that they ask after him, whenever he is not around.
However, he noted that “When a new worker comes, I am like the oga and I have to approve before the person is employed as a labourer.”
Sadly, the father of four said he was married for nine years before he lost his wife last year during child birth.
Averagely, working daily on a shift that starts from 6.30am to 6.00pm, he is being paid per meter of between N60 to N70.
Speaking on how he is coping, he said “Challenges are inevitable in life. It’s just that when you are physically challenged, it is more strenuous. I have instances when I go to look for work, people upon just seeing an amputee will think I have come to beg and send me away.”
He however said he thanks God that he has been given the opportunity to show the world that he can do what able-bodied people are doing and pray it’s the beginning of more opportunities to come.
Besides, he advised young and healthy people not to depend on others saying doing that will make ones faith in God weak.
“The best way to avoid that is by working hard, this is what I have to say to the youth out there. Try and be self-employed and do not wait for anybody to give you. I also want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari because it is during his regime that I was able to convince myself not to wait for people to give me and started working,” he said.
Furthermore, he expressed dismay that some people are not even physically-challenged yet go about begging. Abdulraheem remarked that: “I thank God Almighty for giving me the heart to work, not beg and I believe being physically-challenged does not mean one has lost everything. Just because I lost my leg or hand, people think that I have lost every opportunity in life, but I believe there are things you can do and God will help you achieve them.”
On his aspirations, he said he wanted to be independent and without going through strenuous work like digging, noting that he has no other option.
On possibility of fixing an artificial limb, he said his late father wanted to buy me one, but refused after the hospital said another surgery had to be performed before they could attach the leg.
“I really suffered the first time I had surgery. I spent five years lying down in one place. I rejected it because I did not want to go through what I went through. I am however grateful to Allah the Almighty, even though this is not how I envisaged, but even with one leg, I am able to do what someone with two legs cannot do,” he stated.
Though, he might be called a “one-legged” labourer, Abdulraheem is no doubt popular, defying all odds to keep body and soul together.
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