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"The Nigerian Professor Who Earns More as a Welder"
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Kabir Abu Bilal is not your typical Nigerian university professor. In addition to his academic role, teaching and supervising research students at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, he has also ventured into welding, a profession often viewed as menial in Nigeria.

Despite societal perceptions, Professor Abu Bilal is proud of his work as a welder and has even established his own welding workshop. He admits that he earns more from welding than from his professorship. His decision has surprised many, including his colleagues, who find it unconventional for a professor to engage in manual labor.

His colleague, Prof Yusuf Jubril, sees his actions as commendable rather than degrading, challenging the notion that certain roles are beneath individuals based on their status. Professor Abu Bilal shares this sentiment, emphasizing the need for a more open-minded approach to employment, especially among graduates.

Having started his workshop two decades ago, Professor Abu Bilal’s business has flourished, prompting him to move to larger premises in 2022. His workshop has not only provided financial stability but also allowed him to pursue his passion for hands-on work, a departure from the theoretical nature of his academic field.

The financial benefits have been significant, enabling him to lead a more self-sufficient life and even purchase a Mercedes car. During times of financial hardship, such as when university lecturers went on strike, his welding business provided a steady income.

In addition to his personal success, Professor Abu Bilal is committed to mentoring the next generation. He currently has ten apprentices, whom he teaches the skills of welding. His dedication to sharing knowledge extends to his own children, whom he hopes will learn from his example and appreciate the value of practical skills.

For Professor Abu Bilal, his dual career allows him to embrace both his passion for teaching and his love for hands-on work, embodying his belief in the importance of imparting knowledge.

Piers Potter

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