Aisha Somtochukwu Yesufu

Aisha Somtochukwu Yesufu, born and raised in Kano State and hailing from Agbede in Edo State, navigated the challenges of growing up in a heavily patriarchal environment. She recounted the difficulties she faced as a girl, revealing that by the age of 11, most of her female peers had either been married off or succumbed to childbirth, leaving her without many female friends. By the time she married at 24, she found herself surrounded by friends who were already on the verge of grandmotherhood. Despite these challenges, Yesufu found solace in books, which opened her eyes to a world beyond her surroundings, igniting a desire for a different life.

Her aspirations led her to apply to the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1991, but she faced rejection solely because of her gender. Undeterred, she pursued higher education, initially enrolling at Usmanu Danfodiyo University in 1992. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, she transferred to Ahmadu Bello University to study medicine, only to leave after the institution was closed following the tragic killing of a professor in 1994. Undeterred by setbacks, she eventually earned her degree in microbiology from Bayero University Kano.

Yesufu’s journey reflects resilience and determination in the face of adversity, shaping her into the fearless activist and advocate she is known as today.

A Nigerian activist and businesswoman, she is known for co-founding the #BringBackOurGirls movement, which raised awareness about the abduction of over 200 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014. She has also been active in the End SARS movement against police brutality in Nigeria. Yesufu has been recognized for her advocacy work, including being named among BBC’s 100 Women in 2020 and appearing on lists such as the Top 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine. She is married to Aliu Osigwe Yesufu, and they have two children, Amir and Alliyyah.


Job: Businesswoman and activist
Location: Nigeria
Umi100 Honouree 2024