By Nehru Odeh
Aisha Yesufu, activist, microbiologist and businesswoman, has not only been at the forefront of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign, but also of the #EndSARS protest that is currently rocking the nation.
The iconic image of her dressed in hijab, standing legs apart and raising a clenched fist in defiance of gun-wielding security operatives on Saturday in Abuja, while leading a protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, is not only trending on social media, but also a symbol of the struggle for good governance and democratic rights in Nigeria
Here are 23 stunning facts about the hijab-wearing revolutionary, an epithet coined by a writer in a recent article.
- She was born in 1974 in Kano.
- Though born and brought up in Kano, she hails from Agbede, in Edo State.
- Though born in Northern Nigeria, where speaking up as a female is unheard of, Yesufu was already standing up against injustice as early as the age of 10.
- By the time she was 11, she did not have any female friends because all of them had been married off.
- She was raised not just in a poor home but also in an area that could be compared to a slum.
- At a time in her life in secondary school, she would go to school without breakfast and come back, not expecting lunch.
- She said she was determined to go to school even though it was difficult for females living in Northern Nigeria at the time to do so.
- Growing up as a child, she read voraciously.
- In 1991, she attempted to enrol in the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, but was rejected because she was female.
- She studied Microbiology at Bayero University Kano, although she had attended Uthman Dan Fodio University Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, but never completed her education in those two universities.
- In 2002, during the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), she returned an extra stipend that was paid into her account.
- While in the university, her friends avoided moving with her at the administrative block for fear of getting rusticated.
- She once said immediately she set her eyes on her husband for the first time, she “fell over heels in love with him and went after him.” And 16 months later they tied the knot
- She got married in 1996 at the age of 24, while she was still in the university.
- She and her husband celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in 2018.
- She says her husband is her number one fan.
- She once revealed that she is not a big fan of house chores.
- She has two children, a son and a daughter.
- She also said if she hadn’t taken to activism, she would have been a singer and dancer.
- Activism has been part of her life. She participated in several protests while in school.
- A co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, BBOG, she shot onto limelight in 2014 while speaking against the abduction of the Chibok girls.
- She was among many other women who marched to the National Assembly to demand the release of Chibok school girls and got drenched in April 30, 2020.
- She slumped at the entrance of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja on Wednesday, 19 September, 2018 during a protest for abducted Chibok girls.
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