Aisha Yesufu is a Nigerian social and political activist who came to prominence for her role in speaking up for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in 2014. She was the co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girl (BBOG) campaign that tirelessly held protests demanding for the rescue of the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorists in Chibok. She was born and raised in Kano State. Her parents were poor. Aisha described where she grew up as a ghetto.
She said: “Where I grew up in Kano State can be compared to a ghetto, in fact, some people call it the Ajegunle of Kano where you have a lot of drug users, street children, almajiris, and using drugs was very normal over there. If you were not into drugs in that area, you were seen as an odd person.”
She said she was determined to go to school despite how difficult it was for girl children living in northern Nigeria to go to school. “By the time I was 11 years old, I did not have any female friends because all of them had been married off but I wanted to be educated and leave the ghetto.”
Aisha Yesufu initially got admission at the Uthman Dan Fodio University in 1992 but later left the school after a crisis and enrolled at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study Medicine. Aisha Yesufu left Ahmadu Bello University again after the school was closed following the murder of a professor in 1994. Aisha Yesufu finally completed her tertiary education at Bayero University, Kano, where she graduated with a degree in Microbiology.
She is a businesswoman. She said she has never worked for anyone and don’t intend to. She said: “After my schooling, I went into business, I have never worked for anyone in my life and I never intend to. I have been doing business since 2000; I started my business after school and it became my main focus.”
Aisha Yesufu got married in 1996, at the age of 24 while she was still in the university. Aisha Yesufu and her husband Aliu celebrated their 20 years wedding anniversary in 2018.
Aisha Yesufu and her husband Aliu have two children together, an older son and a daughter. Aisha Yesufu’s youngest child was born on December 6, 2001, and she turned 18 in 2019.
Aisha Yesufu said she has always been known for speaking out against any form of injustice since from a young age. In many of her interviews, Aisha Yesufu described how she participated in a number of protests while in school.
Aisha Yesufu said: “For me, activism has been part of me all my life. I am somebody that stands up against injustice because I have a ‘big mouth.’”
Talking about her involvement in the Chibok girls’ campaign, Aisha Yesufu said she saw her speaking up for the kidnapped Chibok girls as an avenue to give back to her society.
Aisha Yesufu said: “I remember that I was at the gym with a friend who told me that later that day, she was going for a protest because of the abducted Chibok girls. I asked for the colour they were wearing and she said red. Since I did not have a red hijab, I decided to buy one that day. I called my husband to inform him of my decision and he supported me; that was how it started. When the Chibok girls’ incident happened, I was already set to give back to my society and I saw that as an avenue.”
Though Aisha Yesufu was born and raised in northern Nigeria, she is not from the north. Aisha Yesufu is actually from Edo State and so is her husband.