Aishat Ismail

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Aishatu Ismail
Minister of Women Affairs & Youth Development
In office
June 1999 – May 2003
Preceded by Dr Laraba Gambo Abdullahi
Succeeded by Rita Akpan

Hajiya Aishatu Ismail was appointed Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs & Youth Development in the first cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo, holding office between June 1999 and May 2003.

Aishatu Ismail graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1977 with a B.Sc sociology degree. She extended her intellectual frontiers by bagging an M.Sc degree in economics from the University College of Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom.

Her life has been in the field of bettering the lot of women. Her involvement in women and child development dates back to 1978 when she was appointed a social welfare officer in charge of social work and child welfare rehabilitation scheme in Kano State.

In 1982, she became the head of department of research, planning and statistics of the ministry of health, Kano State. She was there till 1983, when her development zeal took her to the state's ministry of social development, youths, sports and culture as the head of department. She spent five years there and was subsequently appointed head, department of women mobilisation and family relations of MAMSER in Kano State.

In 1988, she became the first woman to become the director-general of the Kano State directorate of women and child development. She made history again in 1990 when she was posted to the state's ministry of social development youths, sports and culture as the first female commissioner. Ismail was first again in 1992 when she became the first director-general of the National commission for women. That was after a stint at the Kano State ministry of health and social development as a commissioner and as chairman, panel on the review of the children and young person's law in 1991.

Between 1992 and '94, she was the president of the African regional co-ordinating committee on the integration of women in development of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Ismail was the alternative head of delegation to the commission on the status of women of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria. That was in 1992. In 1993, she was a special envoy to the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, on the establishment of women programme for OAU in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Ismail was also a special envoy to the International Agency for Food and Agricultural Programme, IFAD conference on rural women in Brussells, Belgium in 1994. The same year, she was a delegate to the IFAD's summit action on women and rural development in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ismail was a member of other international bodies such as the International Health Coalition in the United States, Latin American Women Movement on Women and Population Issues and the Federation of the African Women Entrepreneurs of the Economic Commission for Africa, ECA.

Her efforts have not been without accolades. She is a recipient of the women of excellence award in the National Council of Women Societies, NCWS. She is also a member of the Order of the Niger, MON. She was married and has four children.[1]

In February 2001 she spoke out against the lack of commitment of delegates to the recently concluded West African Women Association (WAWA) conference.[2] In August 2001, talking of the increase in the spread of Vesicovaginal fistula she warned families of the dangers of child marriage, and aaid that in future surgical operations for the disease would free in all hospitals.[3]

In March 2002 Ismail welcomed the acquittal of Safiya Hussaini, a woman who had been sentenced to death under Sharia law for adultery. She said this was a victory for all women.[4] As a member of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) she was under pressure in October 2002 to leave the government which was dominated by the People's Democratic Party (PDP). However, she refused to quit.[5]


  1. ^ Geoffrey Ekenna (2 October 2000). "Nigeria: In the Service of Women". Newswatch (Lagos). Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  2. ^ Kingsley Nwezeh (2001-02-09). "Minister Unhappy with Women's Group". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  3. ^ Jare Ilelaboye (2001-08-25). "Ministers Bemoan Increase in VVF Cases". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Nigeria: Shari'ah backers say stoning not worse than US electrocution practice.". Radio France Internationale. 26 March 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  5. ^ Bature Umar And Chuks Akunna (October 17, 2002). "We Won't Quit Obasanjo's Gov't - ANPP Ministers.". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-05-05.