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Rain of tributes for Aisha Lemu


Buhari, NSCIA, FOMWAN, MURIC, others extol her virtues
Even in death, Hajia Aisha Ahmed Lemu was great. The attestation to this, flows from the torrents of tributes pouring in since last Saturday when she passed on at the age of 79.

A British-born author and religious educator, the late Aisha Lemu embraced Islam in 1961 and resided in Nigeria till her death. She was the pioneer National Amirah of the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN). She dedicated her life to Islamic propagation and the grooming of younger women propagators of Islam.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a condolence message expressed deep shock over her exit, describing her as “a repository of knowledge whose depth of scholarship was overwhelming and enviable.”


To Buhari, the deceased “admirably dedicated her life to scholarship and moral uplifting of her society, producing massive literature on religious education during her remarkable life on earth.”

“As a Western woman who converted to Islam, Hajiya Lemu had demonstrated that knowledge was not about inheritance, but about curiosity, enthusiasm and dedication to expand our intellectual horizons.”

The president recalled that she wrote many books on Islamic education which had impacted positively and greatly on her community and the larger society, adding that that her immeasurable contributions to learning would not be forgotten for years to come because those contributions would live after her.

While praying to Allah to bless her soul and reward her good deeds abundantly with paradise, President Buhari extended his condolences to Sheikh Ahmed Lemu and his family as well as the Niger State government over the loss.

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) said her demise has come to create a new leadership vacuum for the Nigerian Muslim womanhood the like of which a onetime American woman convert, Margaret Marcus, who adopted the name Maryam Jameelah after accepting Islam, left behind in 2012 in Pakistan after her demise.

Chairman, NSCIA Media Committee, Femi Abbas, said: “Incidentally, the two great women were contemporaries in birth and in lifestyle. While Maryam Jameelah was born in New York City in 1934, Aisha Lemu who was named Bridget Honey at birth, was born in Poole Dorset, England 1940. Both women coincidentally embraced Islam in the same year (1961) and their roles in Islamic propagation were as similar as if they jointly planned them.

“Thus, Aisha Lemu, a Briton, became to Nigeria what Maryam Jameelah, an American, became to Pakistan in Islamic propagation even as one of them married a Pakistani and the other married a Nigerian, each being a second wife,” he stated.

He quoted the President-General, NSCIA, and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, as saying, her acceptance of Islam and her migration to Nigeria for Islamic propagation could not have been timelier than they happened.

It would be recalled that Maryam Jameelah left the world at the age of 78 and was buried in Pakistan, her husband’s home country in 2012. Hajiya Aisha Lemu stopped breathing at the age of 79, in 2019, and was buried in Nigeria, her husband’s home country.

At a Fidau prayer organized by FOMWAN, a member of National Trustee and a founding member, Muslimah Kamaldeen, described the late Hajia Lemu as a “dedicated Muslim woman, author and scholar of high repute.”

According to her, the death of Lemu is a huge loss to the Islamic ummah. She prayed that the vacuum left by the founder of FOMWAN would be filled with another versatile, selfless leader.

Also, the Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, said: “Aisha Lemu was a very resourceful woman, a prolific writer and author of many Islamic books”.The Murshid of the Abuja National Mosque, Prof Shehu Said Galadanci said the death of Aisha Lemu is a monumental loss to the Nation. He said her invaluable contributions to the teachings and propagation of Islam would remain indelible in the minds of Muslim Ummah.

While praying for the soul of the departed patriot, Prof Galadanci urge Muslims in Nigeria to seek for knowledge at all time.

Hajiya Lemu studied at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and later obtained a postgraduate degree in
English language. She converted to Islam at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, in the year 1961.

During her lifetime, the late Aisha Lemu served as the principal of Government Girls College, Sokoto and Women Teachers College, Minna.

She was the chairman of FOMWAN Board of Trustees until her death. She was well known for her piety, generosity and diligence. It will be difficult to fill the vacuum she has left behind.

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