Liberian Ambassador and Community Eulogize Fallen Nigerian Humanitarian and Educator

Amb. Conteh (right) presents a check to Dr. Sherk Lemu (center) while the deceased’s son, Nuruddeen (left) looks on

(Minna, Nigeria:) Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria and the Liberian Community in Nigeria have eulogized the late Hajia Aisha Lemu, a Nigerian humanitarian and educator, who died on January 5, 2019, in Minna, Nigeria, at age 79.

Ambassador Al-Hassan Conteh, at the head of a delegation from Abuja, and members of the Niger State Chapter of the Organization of the Liberian Communities in Nigeria (OLICON) on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Hajia Aisha Lemu for her immense contribution to the education of scores of Liberians and other African students.

A release from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria says the one-day visit to Minna, the capital of Niger State, was marked by eulogies by Ambassador Conteh and the President of OLICON, Mr. Daoda Kanneh, reflecting on the life of the late British-born author and religious educator who lived most of her adult life in Nigeria, after she converted to Islam in 1961.

According to the release, Ambassador Conteh who was received by the deceased’s son, Muhammad Nuruddeen Lemu, in his remarks, recalled his first encounter with the deceased in Liberia in the mid-1990s, when he served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Liberia, during her visit to Liberia on a humanitarian mission.

The late Hajia Aisha Lemu
Credit: Daily Trust, Nigeria

“We are here today on behalf of our Government to express the deepest condolences of His Excellency, President George Manneh Weah and the people of Liberia to your family for the passing of our sister, our mother, Hajia Aisha Lemu”, he said.

He continued, “When we reflect on the life of the late Hajia Lemu, we only see remarkable achievements. When she sought guidance from Allah to show her the way, God showed her the right path to follow in response to the questions she asked in her prayers about the meaning of life.

And look at what she accomplished:  the inspiration, the education she provided to Liberians, as well as other students from around the world, as seen from her list of scholarship recipients. You heard some of the testimonies from Daoda [Kanneh] who read that Statement on behalf of a long list of Liberian students who benefitted from her scholarships to pursue education in a variety of fields through the Islamic Educational Trust.”

In response, the spouse of the deceased, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Lemu, appreciated the Liberian Ambassador and the Liberian Community for condoling with him and his family during their time of bereavement.

The widower described the Ambassador’s visit as a further demonstration of the strong relationship between Liberia and Nigeria.

Earlier, Mr. Daoda Kanneh, President of the Liberian Community in Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the alumni of the IET’s scholarship fund, said the fallen humanitarian was perhaps the “most adorable personality to them during their entire stay in Nigeria.”

“She played the twin role of a mentor and a mother who understood very well the variations that came with the upbringing of different personalities.  For her, such insight and skills were inherently embedded in one of her cherished past-times, teaching, which necessitated her dealing with pupils with sometimes hard-to-manage characters”, he continued.

Mr. Kanneh recalled that at the Oru Refugee Camp in Ogun State, Nigeria’s largest refugee camp, where most Liberian refugees lived during the Liberian civil war, her humanitarian services were extended to all irrespective of their religious affiliations.

He added, “She did so in the belief that the assistance extended to those in need, no matter the faith or creed of such people, was a religious commitment to be respected and that it was only Allah that would reward the doers of virtue. Effectively positioned as a humanitarian and a problem solver in the truest sense of the word, Hajia Aisha B. Lemu could hardly turn her back on people who came to seek help from her. Instead, she was always willing to think of solutions that gave them the hope to aspire for better.”

Married to Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Lemu, a well-respected Nigerian educator, the late Hajia Lemu holds a very special place in the hearts of almost 60 former Liberian refugees who received tertiary education from the Islamic Education Trust (IET) Scholarship Fund, that she and her husband established to educate students of different religions.

Fifty-eight former Liberian refugees top the list of beneficiaries from the West African sub-region and other parts of Africa who had sought refuge in Nigeria. The Liberian students attended various Nigerian universities during the Liberian civil war from 1990-2003.  The IET Scholarship fund also provided them with stipends. Most of the beneficiaries came from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Cameroon and Kenya.Immediately following her demise on January 5, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in his condolence message to the family, described her “as a repository of knowledge whose depth of scholarship was overwhelming and enviable.”

The Janaza (Islamic Funeral Prayer) for late Hajia Aisha Lemu was held in Minna, Nigeria, on January 6, 2019.  She is survived by her Husband, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Lemu, two children, grandchildren and scores of other relatives in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

From Nat Bayjay | Minister Counselor for Press & Public Affairs, Liberian Embassy | Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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About Cholo Brooks 10072 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.