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Yola’s young techies lending amputees a helping hand

An intern at the centre fixing a prosthetic limb on Jafar Adam

A group of young innovators in Yola, Adamawa State capital, are producing state-of-the-art artificial limbs for victims of Boko Haram, as well as for security operatives who lost limbs in the line of duty. The 3D Team is one of the groups at the Yola Humanitarian Innovation Hub set up by the federal government in 2018 to encourage Nigerians develop local solutions to some of the humanitarian problems in the North-East.

The team, among the 25 best ideas selected to benefit from the mentorship program, had initially 3D-printed a prosthetic limb for a youngster, Muhammad from Maiduguri, who lost his hand in a Boko Haram attack. The artificial limb was donated at an event attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Yola.

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The 3D Team recently constructed a limb for a young vigilante member, Jafar, whose hand was chopped off by members of the deadly Shila gang, a criminal group that is now infamous for phone-snatching, street violence and armed robbery.

Thanking the team, an elated Jafar said the artificial limb helped improve his self-esteem, and rekindled his dream to return to school.

The 3D Team’s Coordinator, Musa Heledi, said they had also printed and donated a limb to a police officer, ASP Tumba, who lost his hand fighting bandits in Ngurore village during a police raid.

Heledi called on wealthy individuals and organisations to support production of more limbs for handicapped Nigerians. “We therefore call on people to come to the North-East Innovation Hub and see what we do so they can support. We’re the most active such centre in Nigeria,” he noted.

One of the health workers on the team, Abdurrahman Abdullahi, explained that the process involves measurements, and tests, before 3D-printing and fixing a limb.

Abdullahi also said the team needs sponsorship. “All the materials we use are imported, so we need money to buy more, especially now that more handicapped people are coming forward,” he added.

Director-General, Media and Communication, Adamawa Government House, Solomon Kumangar expressed delight that such a feat had been achieved in the state, noting that government was ready to partner with the team. He said the administration of Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri had already introduced policies that empower youths, like free education, school feeding program, and recovery of school lands appropriated and allocated to individuals by the immediate-past administration.

 

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