Bridget Aisha Lemu (14th October 1940-5th January 2019)

The British-born author and religious educator was born Bridget Anne Honey in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom.

She attended Uplands School, Parkstone, Dorset between 1950 and 1955 and proceeded for a year course at Oxford Technical College     1955 — 56.   She studied at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), majoring in Chinese history, language and culture.

She began to question her faith at the age of thirteen, and thus began exploring other religions including Hinduism and Chinese Buddhism. She got converted to Islam in 1961, having met Muslims at the Islamic centre who gave her Islamic literature to read during her first year of study, picking up the Arabic name, “Aisha”.

Bridget Aisha Lemu had her postgraduate studies in Postgraduate Certificate in Education, qualifying to teach English as a foreign language teacher. She met Sheikh Ahmed Lemu (whom she later married at the University of London) where he had been studying at another college and was involved in the Islamic activities around the institution.

She helped in founding the Islamic Society at SOAS becoming its first secretary and assisted in the formation of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies. She moved to Kano in Nigeria in August 1966 to teach at the School for Arabic Studies while her husband worked as headmaster.

She married Sheikh Ahmed Lemu in April 1968 to becoming his second wife after which she moved to Sokoto and became the principal of the Government Girls College.

Sheikh Ahmed Lemu became the Grand Qadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State of Niger when it was founded in 1976 while Aisha became the principal of the Women’s Teachers College in Minna from then until 1978.

Bridget Aisha Lemu together with her husband  founded the Islamic Education Trust and  she became its director-general till 2018 when Alhaji Arzika Rimau was installed.

She helped in founding the Islamic Society at SOAS becoming its first secretary and assisted in the formation of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies,  was a member of the Islamic Studies Panel, set up by the Nigerian Educational Research Council, with the mandate of revising the national Islamic curriculum for different school levels, and she 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 In 1985 as well as the  Alimajiri Literacy Initiative (ALI) helping hundreds of almajiri children in Niger State become literate.

Aisha Lemu has authored so many  religious books which are being read by students of Islamic knowledge all over the world.

She was awarded the Member of the Order of Niger’ (M.O.N) national honour presented by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000.

Bridget Aisha Lemu  died on 5 January 2019 in Minna, Niger State  Nigeria leaving behind her husband, Sheik Ahmed Lemu, children: Nuruddeen and Maryam Lemu and grandchildren.

She was mourned all over the world with the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari describing her as a repository of knowledge whose death has created a vacuum difficult to fill.


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