Aisha Lemu, foremost educationist, author of many Islamic Studies books and founder of Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria, FOMWAN, has died at the age of 79.
Multiple sources told DAILY NIGERIAN that she died on Saturday in Minna, Niger State capital.
Director-General of NITDA, Isa Pantami also confirmed the death, praying for the repose of her soul.
“May the Almighty Allah forgive and be Merciful to Shaykha Hajiya Aisha (The wife of Shaykh Ahmad Lemu)… Furthermore, may He (SWT) forgive our late parents and reward them with Firdaus,” Mr Pantami tweeted.
Lemu was born in Poole, Dorset, in 1940, as Bridget Aisha Honey. At the age of thirteen, she began to question her faith and began exploring other religions including Hinduism and Chinese Buddhism. She studied at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), pursuing her interest in Chinese history, language and culture. While there, she met Muslims who gave her Islamic literature to read and she converted to Islam at the Islamic Cultural Centre in 1961, during her first year of study. She subsequently helped to found the Islamic Society at SOAS, becoming its first secretary, and also assisted in the formation of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
After graduating from SOAS, Lemu studied for a postgraduate qualification to teach English as a foreign language and while doing so, she met her future husband, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, who had been studying at another college of the University of London and was involved in the Islamic activities around the institution. Having obtained her Postgraduate Certificate in Education, she moved to Kano in Nigeria in August 1966 to teach at the School for Arabic Studies there, where Sheikh Ahmed Lemu worked as headmaster. They married in April 1968, with Aisha becoming his second wife. She subsequently moved to Sokoto to take up the position of principal of the Government Girls College.
Sheikh Ahmed Lemu was Grand Qadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State of Niger when it was founded in 1976, and Aisha was principal of the Women’s Teachers College in Minna from then until 1978. The couple founded the Islamic Education Trust, which now operates in several Nigerian states has offices and a library, includes a publisher, primary and secondary school and adult education centre for women. Lemu was a member of the Islamic Studies Panel, set up by the Nigerian Educational Research Council, which was to revise the national Islamic curriculum for different school levels.
In 1985, Lemu founded the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) with other Muslim women and was elected as its first national Amirah for four years. Lemu served as a civil servant after this term of office.
She died on January 5, 2019 at Minna, Nigeria.