Four secondary school leavers from Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, Jimoh Abdulfatai, Musa Aliu, Jamiu Abass, and Abdulateef Hanafi, after unveiling the prototype aircraft they constructed, on the day of Nigeria’s 60 years of independence which was on the 1st of October, 2020.
In an interview with a newsman, Jimoh Abdulfatai who led the team told of how the idea of building an aircraft had been with him since childhood. He revealed that living around the airport and the facts that he loves birds helped and boosted his interest in constructing an aircraft one day.
Jimoh admitted that the idea was a collective one. He told that the four of them were curious to figure what makes an aircraft fly and remains stable in the air made them come together and install knowledge and resources in building one.
When asked of their academic qualifications, Jimoh replied that they had had just West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and National Examination Council examinations although not judging from their qualifications, he insisted that they have basic knowledge on the project.
According to Jimoh Abdulfatai, he started the construction with his younger brother using cartons and foams. He pointed out how they created a two-seater aircraft and how he met someone working on a similar project and had constructed a smaller one too, and that was how they came together to work on achieving a bigger goal, that was how they met the third and the fourth person.
Although they were not living together, Jimoh stays along with the Airport Area while the rest stays at Alapaha, Kuntu, and Checking Point area but within Ilorin.
The completion of the aircraft took them three years which after they finished contacted some politicians seeking government approval, even though they feared it would need huge capital investment. They decided to unveil the project before the world on Independence Day.
When Jimoh Abdulfatai was asked how much the project cost, he revealed that they both contributed to raising 3.5 million Naira in seeing that the project was completed.
He sold his commercial motorcycle in which he used the money to buy some materials. At the same time, others had their properties sold equally, and every material they used were locally sorted, which includes the 1200 Volkswagen horsepower they used to power the craft.
The prototype which has all the components of an aircraft – the wings, tail, propellers, and flying gear. Although it has not been tested, Jimoh stressed that the helicopter wasn’t built out of assumption, he insisted that lots of calculations on the balance and weight were employed in the construction.
These four Nigerians have gone to the State Government House to book an appointment with the government which they have written a letter but are yet to be responded to. They also took the project to the Nigeria Air Force base along Offa Garage Road as the Chief of Air Staff after watching them on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Still, they have not heard from him, although he assured they would be called back.
These four talented boys are calling on the State Governor to assist them in pursuing their dreams, pleading they came from low backgrounds. They would want the government to help them academically, permit them with a license to fly the aircraft, and as well, sponsor their visit to any aircraft manufacturing company for more knowledge.