HAJJ STAMPEDE: RIP Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf…A Versatile Nigerian Journalist, Columnist and Civil Society Activist

Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf 
Credits: BBOG
A stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj -- the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca -- has killed more than 700 people and injured nearly 900 others in Saudi Arabia.

News from Saudi showed that a Nigerian woman Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf was among the victims of the stampede. She was a versatile journalist, columnist, journalism ombudsman and later civil society activist, who mentored a lot of journalists for about three decades.

Until her untimely death, Hajiya Bilkisu was one of the advocates for the BRING BACK OUR GIRLS (BBOG) Campaign. The campaign which was initiated to advocate for the safe return over 200 Chibok schoolgirls that were abducted April 2014. The BBOG group was in shock upon receiving this sad news.

The stampede occurred Thursday [Sept 24] morning during the ritual known as "stoning the devil" in a tent city in Mina, about two miles from the holy site in Mecca, Islam's holiest city.

Hajiya Bilkisu, a former presidential Adviser on International Affairs and syndicated columnist for Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers, was the Executive Director of Advocacy Nigeria, a movement working for the reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality.

According to wisemuslimwomen.org, Hajia Bilkisu "is also a founding member of several NGOs including two of the country’s most vibrant and pace setting national women’s organizations, Women in Nigeria (WIN) and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association (FOMWAN)."

"She served as First Kano State Coordinator at WIN and as a National President at FOMWAN. She also is a Chairperson at ABANTU for Development, an NGO where she is the Master Gender Trainer for Northern Nigeria. "Ms. Bilikisu has also worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information in Kano and worked briefly as a Programme Officer at Radio Kano. She also worked as the Editor of three National Newspapers The Triumph in Kano, The New Nigerian, and Citizen Magazine.

"She serves on several national and international boards and has written 20 chapters in published books on subjects ranging from Women’s rights, media, gender, Islam, politics and maternal and child health. "Ms. Bilikisu received her B.S. at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and also earned a Masters in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin Madison, USA. She received an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from the Moscow Institute of Journalism and International Relations, Moscow. She is married with children," wrote the website.

Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf died yesterday alongside 700 others in the Mecca stampede. May Allah make Aljannah Firdausi to be Hajiya Bikisu's final abode.

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