Bilkisu Yusuf


Note: Date of Birth subject to verification. Hajiya Bilkisu lost her life in the Jamarat tragedy, September 2015, inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. An obituary prepared by Bala Muhammad and published in the Daily Trust, Nigeria notes: Hajiya Bilkisu was the most prominent female journalist from Northern Nigeria for several decades. She was editor of Sunday Triumph in the early 1980s and became editor of the New Nigerian in 1987. She then became editor of Citizen Magazine in 1990. Apart from journalism, Hajiya Bilkisu was also very well known for civil society activism and in particular for her role in the nurturing of Muslim Women's NGOs. She was Deputy National Amirah of the Federated Organisation of Muslim Women's Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) [and later the National Amirah as well]. She wrote hundreds of seminar papers and attended civil society conferences all over the world. Most recently, she was deeply involved in helping persons internally displaced by the crises in the North East region. She presented a paper on the issue at the Daily Trust's awareness and fund-raising event for internally displaced persons in late August. Hajiya Bilkisu also maintained the weekly column Civil Society Watch in Daily Trust. She has maintained the column for more than a decade and sent her most recent article, which appeared in yesterday's edition, from Mecca on Wednesday evening [prior to her demise]. Sister Bilkisu, whom I have known almost all my student and professional life, was a person most of us Northern journalists and activists always looked up to for guidance. She was scholarly yet humble; she was learned yet simple; she was high up there, yet so much down here with us. She was reserved and at the same time sociable. Her colleagues and contemporaries Mohammed Haruna, Adamu Adamu and Kabiru Yusuf could be the only professionals who may know the essential Bilkisu better than us her juniors. Sister Bilkisu was a great personality and was highly respected by all. I remember that around 2003, when she was Chairperson of the FOMWAN, she had invited now Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to speak to her members at their Annual Convention in Lokoja. At that time, I was engaged on consultancy with Mallam Nasir at the Bureau of Public Enterprises, where he then was Director General. He had asked me to accompany him and we went. Throughout the trip and back, Mallam Nasir and I were sharing what we knew of the goodness and humility and professionalism of Sister Bilkisu.

Compiler: Bala Muhammad & The Daily Trust, Nigeria

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