The only time I remember I don’t have my arms is when I’m at my duty post opening the gates for survival as a security man,” says 60-year-old Bello Adamu-Abubakar, who is an example of when life throws you a lemon, make lemonade from it.
Adamu-Abubakar is a husband to one wife and father of five children and operates as a gateman around the Government Reserved Area in Gombe State.
When our correspondent visited his Bagadaza residence, he explained that he was not born without arms, but he only became armless following his ordeal with some herdsmen who attacked him around the Akko Local Government Area of the state.
Adamu-Abubakar noted that despite his fate, he has refused to allow his current situation to deter him from living a normal lifestyle, or make him useless, redundant, and totally incapacitated.
He stressed that his wife gladly feeds him with some water and food at home and the only time he remembers his disability is when he goes to work as a security man when he remembers he doesn’t have his arms.
While narrating his ordeal, he stated “The incident took place 25 years ago. It was during the tenure of Governor Abubakar Hashidu as Governor of Gombe State. I was riding a bicycle in the bush in a village called Kiddah in Kumo, Akko LGA.
“Suddenly, I came across the first set of dangerous Fulani herdsmen in the bush. They asked me to give them some money, and I handed over everything I had to them. They were five in number.”
Continuing, he explained, “As I proceeded on my journey, I met a second set of Fulani herdsmen and like the first group, they also asked me for some money and I told them that I had met with your fellow that I handed over all the money I had to them and I was left with nothing. It was then one of them queried, why would they collect money from me, and there wasn’t a blood stain on my body.
“After a long argument with them, one of the second set of herdsmen decided to fight with me and I retaliated we had a serious fight but in the process, I was able to collect his cutlass and he started begging me along with the others to let him go and I released my firm grip on him as I held him down, then let him off and handed him back his cutlass.”
According to the father of five, shortly after the encounter, he had barely gone some distance when he met another set that ran out from their hideout, scattered all around him and before he realised what was happening, they had all surrounded him.
Adamu-Abubakar disclosed that it was this group that cut off his right hand and left thumb before they escaped into the thick forest.
The victim added, “I saw a man standing alone with a cutlass, he attacked me with the cutlass and I decided to use my bicycle to hit him to defend myself, then, he shifted backwards and before he could realise it, I already knocked him to the ground and got hold of his cutlass.
“Unknowingly to me, three others are hiding in the bush. They came out and begged me to release him, and I forgave the one I knocked to the ground and also gave him back his cutlass.
“But just as I moved a very short distance before I could realise what was happening, they surrounded me and cut my right hand and my left thumb. They also macheted me on one side of my head, which dealt a devastating blow to my body, and later, they ran away after leaving me there in a pool of blood to battle for my life.
“That machete cut to my head, the doctors said, led to the partial paralysis of half of my body on the left side.
“Although, I tried my possible best to reach home that day after covering my amputated hand with my clothes to prevent the blood from pouring out,” Adamu-Abubakar tearfully recalled.
Speaking more on his plight, he noted that upon his return home, his wife made way for him to get treatment at the hospital, stressing, “We went to Kumo hospital with my family. There, surgery was performed, and my hand was amputated to almost my elbow region.
“After a while, I also lost my entire left arm, which paralysed.”
The gateman said that before the ordeal, he was a farmer but he insisted that after the sad incident and in order not to become a liability, he chose to get involved with safeguarding the residence for a monthly payment to sustain his family.
“Before the incident, I was a farmer. I used my hand to farm and feed my family because farming was my major source of income but now, I no longer have one hand, and the other left hand that remains is paralysed down to my leg leaving me with no option than staying at home,” he lamented.
Commenting on how the incident has changed his lifestyle Adamu-Abubakar added, “The incident left me in a very bad situation because all my family depended on me to provide for them but now is not possible because even myself I need help from people to survive because of my condition. I had to leave the village for my present location in Bagadaza because we farm there to feed our families and since there is no how I could farm, I had to vacate the place and then my children were still at tender age.”
While lauding the efforts of his wife, Adamu-Abubakar remarked that she had become a pillar of support.
“My wife has been behind me right from the day the incident occurred. She feeds me, gives me water to drink, bath me, and wear clothes for me because I can’t do these things for myself due to my situation, and it is my prayer that God will bless her and reward her for taking care of me for the past 25 years,” he prayed.
Explaining how he manages to operate as a gateman despite his armless state, Adamu-Abubakar disclosed that after battling one-sided paralysis for two years he had no option but to attempt to remain the man of the house.
He pointed out, “I’m now a security guard here in GRA Gombe State. I use my legs to open and close the gate, with the aid of my right hand which was amputated in the hospital because I can still slightly easily move it compared to my left hand which is paralysed.
“Most times, I trek to my place of work so that I can exercise my body because I was advised in the hospital to move my body in other to make it flexible because it will take some time for me to regain myself.
“Whenever I am thirsty, there is a tap in my place of work that I manage to open with my mouth and drink water directly from, especially if there’s no one around to help me lift the cup to my mouth.
“I am calling on the government and individuals to assist me in any way they can because life hasn’t been easy since my hand was cut off and I find it difficult to take care of my family. I wish to call on individuals and the government to assist the less privileged, especially those who have the intention to work, but due to physical challenges, they can not do it themselves.”
The 60-year-old handicapped urged youths to desist from acts of criminality, urging them not to get influenced by trends, adding, “Youths that engage in such inhumane act should stop it and depend on God for survival without forcefully collecting it from people and this is also applicable to those that invade people’s home and farmlands.”