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Murtala Shuaibu: How Blind Mechanic Earned Fame After Revealing Secret About How He Works

Murtala Shuaibu of Nigeria got blind while driving a car in 1996. He was a mechanic prior to the sad incident, but he was usually physically ill. Last month, he told the Punch Newspaper that treatments he received may have harmed his vision.

“I started to have blurred vision in both eyes. Initially, I thought it would go away but it got worse. One day, while I was driving, I lost my sight and could no longer see with both eyes,” the 55-year-old mechanic and father of two who lives in Kano told the newspaper.

He could have accepted his fate after losing his vision while working as a mechanic, but he chose to work around his restrictions in order to create something of himself. And, with the encouragement of his friends and community members, Shuaibu opted to continue working as a mechanic on the Gwagwalada Expressway in Abuja, where his car workshop is located.

However, repairing cars as a visually impaired person is difficult, if not impossible. To acclimate to his new position, Shuaibu began training his nose, ears, and hands to identify vehicle defects. He told the Punch that he had mastered vehicle parts with his hands and had tuned his hearing to the sound of engines to spot problems. “That is why if I hold a spanner in my hands, I can tell its size and use my hands to chart where I should apply it,” he noted.

The vision blind mechanic adapted further by depending on his nose to detect vehicle faults. As time passed, his ears became more acute to determining what was wrong with every car he was working on, while his hands adapted to changing automobile parts with “minimal assistance.”

“When you bring your vehicle to me, I will ask you to start the engine and then I listen carefully to it. When you rev the engine of a car, and something is wrong with it, if you listen carefully, you will hear some abnormal sounds that will emerge from it. Mechanics know this. There are times I ask the person patronizing me to open up the bonnet and I will use my hands to decipher or check what I think may be wrong.”

Popularly known by his community as “the blind mechanic”, Shuaibu’s fame recently traveled beyond his community when a TikTok user who happened to be one of his clients shared a video about him, which has been viewed over 80,000 times.

Shuaibu stated that he has been in his career for more than 30 years, working on Toyota and Honda vehicles and receiving great feedback from car owners who are often astounded at how easily he discovers defects in his condition. Those who believe in his ability remain. Others try to underpay him or fight with him when he informs them what their vehicles require to be repaired.

As a Kano resident with a shop in Abuja, his other issue is getting to Kano to see his family, which is 423 kilometers distant from his shop. He typically travels to Kano with pals to see his relatives. He is currently hoping to obtain a mode of transportation that he can use to go and meet his clients when their cars break down rather than waiting for them, he said, while advising young people with physical disabilities not to be discouraged but to always recognize and encourage themselves.

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