Buhari, Atiku, Ishaku others mourn ‘Mama Taraba’

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President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were among the leaders that on Friday mourned the death of former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajiya Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan.

Senator Al-Hassan, fondly called ‘Mama Taraba,’ who represented Taraba North in the 7th Senate, died yesterday in a hospital in Cairo, Egypt, aged 61.

Buhari described her death as a national loss. According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President was deeply saddened by the death of the woman activist, who was popularly called ‘Mama Taraba’.

The Nigerian Mission in Cairo, Egypt, announced the passing of the former minister and Senator.

Reacting to the development, Buhari said “the demise of the notable politician, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, has left many saddened.

“Both in office and out of office, her concern for the education of the girl child, especially those of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, shone through.

Her death is a huge loss not only to the female gender activist community but to the country as a whole. Our condolences to her family, friends, National Assembly and government and people of Taraba State”, he said.

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday also expressed shock over the death of the former minister.

Atiku said Alhassan would be sorely missed by Nigerians. In a tweet, Atiku wrote: “I am grieved by the death of former Minister of Women Affairs, Sen. Aisha Alhassan. I asked about her condition this afternoon after I called her number without a response! Inna lillahi wainna Ilaihi Rajiun!

May Allah forgive her sins and grant her Aljannah Fiddausi in this holy month. Ameen.

Mama Taraba, as she was popularly known, was an accomplished civil servant, astute politician and patriot. She was compassionate, loyal and deeply committed to a better Nigeria.

She will be sorely missed. I really have lost a sister and a loyalist.”

In his reaction, Taraba State Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, said her death has robbed Taraba State and Nigeria of the benefits of her wealth of experience in politics.

The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan Abu, said he received with deep shock news of the death of Alhassan, a former senator.

Ishaku described the deceased as a woman of great courage, adding that her death to him is a personal loss.

He said he and the late Sen. Alhassan had enjoyed a robust political relationship and had kept in touch even while both of them contested for the governorship of Taraba State from different political platforms in 2015 and 2019.

In her reaction on Friday, Sen. Joel Danlami Ikenya described the late Alhassan as a “sister and political associate.”

Ikenya in a statement to The Nation said: “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of former Minister of Women Affairs, Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan.

“You brought the power of your presence, your compassion, and passion to the excitement of many female politicians in Nigeria. Your energy level was zero to none. I will surely miss the presence of a truly lovable and kind sister.

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“I convey my deepest condolences to the government and people of Taraba State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“My dear Sister, you will really be missed, but not forgotten.”

Also, former Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani said death has freed Mama Taraba from the troubles of the world.

“She has been sick for a while,” a family source disclosed.

Aisha Jummai Alhassan had defeated former Governor Jolly Nyame at the poll to become the first and only female senator in Taraba State representing Taraba North Senatorial District.

She won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

She later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) where she became the broom’s candidate for the 2015 governorship election in the state.

She lost at the ballot box but the election tribunal gave her the verdict before the Court of Appeal upturned the ruling in favor of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku who is still the governor.

For her immense contribution to the rise of APC in Taraba in the 2015 General Election, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed her Minister of Women Affairs.

In the 2019 General Election, Mama Taraba resigned her post to contest the Taraba governorship in the United Democratic Party (UDP). She still lost to Governor Ishaku.

Alhassan, a former opponent of Ishaku, later rejoined the PDP and publicly threw support for the governor.

She was born on September 16, 1959 in Jalingo, Taraba State, to Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim, Sarkin Ayukan Muri.

She attended the School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from July 1977 to July 1979 for her preliminary studies.

Alhassan started work as a Magistrate Grade II in April 1988 in the Kaduna State Judiciary.

She was admitted to the Fijian Bar and enrolled as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Fiji in 1991. While she was in Fiji, her services were transferred from Kaduna State Judiciary to FCT Judiciary in 1991 as Magistrate Grade I.

She was appointed the first female Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Taraba State in 1997.

Aisha Jummai Alhassan became the first female Chief Registrar of the High Court of the FCT in December 2003. She voluntarily retired from the FCT Judiciary as Chief Registrar on December 31, 2009.

Taraba State was in rude shock and sadness yesterday when news of her demise filtered the air. Many said she would be missed.

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