it is common in our society to see disabled people wallow in self-pity and depend on alms from others to survive, however the story is not the same for all amputees and blind folks. Oluwafemi Shatuyi may be physically challenged, he never allowed his condition weigh him down, instead he worked harder than most people in the society.
Along the Ikorodu-Imota axis, on a daily basis, Oluwafemi Shatuyi, also known by friends as China, rides his commercial tricycle, rendering transport services to the public. Though, Shatuyi lost his left leg two years ago, he nursed his pain and forged ahead in life. He never believe in begging neither did he allow depression to take away his strength. When he met with our reporters, he smiled as he narrated his ordeal in recent years and how he has continue to plan for the future.
Oluwafemi Shatuyi is a devote Muslim who was born hearty and hale until he broke down of a strange disease sometime in 2010. After visiting hospital and was diagnosed of a rare infection, he went through series of treatment at various hospitals in Lagos. He was treated of hypodermic and bone disease for years. But unknown to him, he required a more sophisticated bone surgery in the United Kingdom to get completely healed from the ailment. Unfortunately, some parts of his legs remained diseased and the infection was spreading from that extremity to the rest parts of his body. The safest option for him was to amputate the affected leg to avoid other parts from being infected. “When I consulted the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, I was charged five hundred and sixty thousand naira for the amputation of my leg. Then I was at the mercy of family members and my wife, the pain was unbearable and I needed to protect the rest parts of my body.” Shatuyi recounted. While many sympathized with him, they couldn’t do much in raising the money until he met a guy who introduced him to an aunt in Warri. Though they didn’t get to meet in person, the Warri based woman made contacts with other Muslim faithful and they started raising the money for Shatuyi’s situation.
After raising the fund, he was advised to consult other medical centres, and he visited University Teaching Hospital of the Ladoke Akintola University where the bill was relatively lesser than Igbobi.
According to him, the removal of his left leg at the teaching hospital was successful and he had over a hundred thousand naira left from the fund. “After the operation, I had to discipline myself by keeping the remaining fund to start a business. At that point I started mobilizing the little cash received from people to start a business to sustain me and my family. Thought my wife had a business, but my protracted ailment reduced her trade to nothing. I spent all her money on treatment and I know I have do something to reduce the burden on her.”
He said with the little initial capital from the donated fund, he started a corporative contribution and secured two hundred and eighty thousand naira as initial deposit to purchase a tricycle. The business soon failed due to lack of experience and his frail body which was still recuperating from the operation.
Determined to survive, Oluwafemi Shatuyi made contact to buy another tricycle for commercial use. This time he got one on higher purchase to be paid on weekly basis for 37 weeks. Out these weeks, he has currently paid for 25 weeks.
Between the time of recuperating from the major operation and buying his first tricycle, Shatuyi was engaged in other business like buying and selling of clothing items from Ghana and Benin Republic to Nigeria. “Then whenever I get to the border, the Immigration and Custom officials were always giving me preferential treatment. That was before the Buhari government closed the borders.” He plan resuming the import trade business as soon as he completes paying for the tricycle and raise some cash. Though he could do that in no time, Shatuyi expressed concerns over the foreign exchange rate which has made it difficult to buy goods in foreign countries. His plan is to start selling livestock like rams, sheep, goats and cows from the north till he would make sufficient money to start a U.K. trade in used electronics.
The livestock is seasonal as there only demands in festive periods, he will run it intermittently. After surveying the Ikorodu market, Shatuyi has spotted areas where he can sell used electronics from the United Kingdom and Holland, he is currently working harder to save up capital for the foreign trade.
Considering his physical condition, one would think Oluwafemi Shatuyi is overworking himself out with all the big plans, but he felt otherwise. “I have three children, two girls and a boy. My first daughter will be studying Mass Communication in the University coming session, the second child is in SSS 2 and the third in primary 4, and I have to ensure they have good education.” He explained.
With his struggle and bustling, this man has demonstrated that physical challenges and deformity are not enough to deprive anyone from achieving his aim in life. Though he is not looking for handouts from people and the government, Oluwafemi Shatuyi needs encouragement from well-meaning Nigerians.