Despite their lack of material, training and money, these determined Nigerians have managed to build their own machines. These machines were all made in Nigeria by Nigerians without government support. In any society, there’s always a subset of individuals with an interest in tinkering, fabricating, mimicking, inventing.
At the very fundamental level, what drives them is curiosity. On top of that, it’s problem-solving, or addressing gaps they see in society but with all these qualities and potentials, there are no structures or resources to bring most of their creations to life.
Let us take a look a few success stories.
Helicopter From Scraps
24 years old physics student, Mubarak Muhammed Abdullahi spent nearly a year building a 12-metre (39ft) long helicopter out of spare parts sourced from old cars, motorcycles, and even a crashed Boeing 747. He used the money he saved from repairing cell phones and computers. His bright yellow contraption with a salvaged Honda Civic engine was completed in 2007 and could actually reach heights of seven ft. His invention helped secure him a scholarship to study aircraft maintenance in the UK.
A Mini Excavator
This excavator was made by Fidelis Nwachukwu, the CEO of Final Tech Engineering in 2013. He is a secondary school dropout with a natural skill to build machinery and complex engines. Like normal excavator, the arm of this machine can make a 360 turn. But even with his innovation, Fidelis was treated like a criminal when he solicited for government support.
“At my first visit to the House of Assembly to get my work viewed, I was accused of being a Boko Haram member and sent away. The government is supposed to see my work, especially the president, the president is like our father and I believe one day I would get the support I need.” Mr Fidelis Nwachukwu disclosed that he spent N200,000 on the prototype excavator and he needed N12,550,000 to buy the necessary equipment to launch full production.
An Electric Excavator
This excavator was made by Echezona in 2013. Then he was in his 3rd year in a Senior Secondary School (SS3). He wanted to be a mechanical engineer.
A Starwars-like Helicopter
This made in Mbaise (a small town in eastern Nigeria) helicopter has an out of the ordinary body design. Though the craft can’t fly the innovation put into the design of the body of the craft is commendable.
The Z600 Automobile
Dr Izuogu, an electrical-electronics engineer was a former lecturer in Communications and electronics engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Owerri, Nigeria. His major breakthrough in his engineering endeavour was the design and construction of the first ever locally made car: the Z-600 in 1997. It was designed and made in Nigeria for the family market and has a top speed of 140km (86m) an hour. Ninety per cent of its parts are locally produced – it has a doorbell for a horn.
Optimism surrounded the car until March 11, 2006, when armed robbers raided the factory of Izuogu Motors taking with them the moulds for the engine blocks and crankshaft, mudguards and other components. This was a big setback for the project. Since then not much is known on the status of the car.
Drone (Unmanned Aircraft)
Adebanjo Olajide from Epe, Lagos is into unmanned aircraft system construction. most of his airframes are hand launch and are designed to work with RC autopilot system. The radio distance range is around 1km.
Maximum speed: 50km/h
Maximum altitude: 90feet
Aircraft weight: 1kg.
Autobully Van Made by Autozik Group
This year 2016, a group of students from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, known as the Autozik Group, made a minibus using mere hand tools. This means we did all of the constructions and folding, with our hands, since the university could not provide ground equipment, as used in most automobile companies. The minibus which took about five months to complete and was named Autobully
Nigeria recorded a major feat in automotive technology innovation in 2014 with this energy-efficient car called “Tuke-Tuke”. Students of the University of Benin made this eco-friendly car that passed the international technical evaluation in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This qualified them to race at the 2014 Eco-Marathon in the Netherlands against cars from 25 countries, which are mostly advanced countries.
Tuke-Tuke was a group work and enjoy some institutional support from Shell Petroleum.