On Friday, 21 August 2020, the lights went out on one of Nigeria’s foremost SCD activists, Shema’u Adam Imam. She was 31 and a 400-Level Chemistry student at Bayero University, Kano.
Imam was Chairperson of Kano Sickle Cell Community and a member of the State’s Sickle Trust Fund and was an inspiration to many within her community. A spellbinding speaker, she so eloquently dissected the imperative of premarital genotype screening at a meeting of Islamic scholars that many were moved to tears. On that occasion, one of the clerics urged his colleagues to adopt a resolution to make premarital screening compulsory.
Fight Against SCD Suffocated
In a statement released on Saturday, August 22 by Abba Anwar, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Imam’s death was described as a suffocation on the fight against SCD not only in Kano state but in Nigeria as a whole.
‘She was an exemplary star and a heroine,’ says Governor Ganduje, nothing that Imam never allowed sickle cell to stand in her way of being an achiever and a role model.
The Public Affairs Unit of the Kano Sickle Cell Community, of which Imam was Vice president stated that the departed SCD advocate was a compassionate woman who ‘moved mountains to help others succeed.’
Journalists, colleagues and friends of Imam all paid glowing tribute to Imam for her commitment to sickle cell education.
Abdulatif Abubakar Jos, Publisher of Kano Solace praised Imam for being an outstanding sickle cell campaigner, recalling that she once complained that most who set up charities to help SCD patients were actually out to help themselves and their cronies.
KESCA condoles with Govt and Family
The Kebbi Sickle Cell Association (KESCA) issued a statement expressing its heartfelt condolences, referring to Shema’u as a great leader and sickle cell warrior. The statement by KESCA President, Mrs. Khadiza Shantali urged the government of Kano State to implement the Sickle Cell Law Ms Imam presented to it in 2018, while serving as President of the Kano Sickle Cell Community.
Message From Canada
interim President of the Global Alliance For Sickle Cell Disease Organizations (GASCDO), Mrs. Lanre Tunji-Ajayi MSM, expressed her condolences on the passing of a heroine and called for her legacy to be kept alive.
A Sister Like No Other
She was indeed a great sister, she was my best companion and my life guide. My sister left a good legacy behind, which was serving humanity while at the same time battling her own challenge. May her gentle soul continue to rest in perfect peace, amin – Ibrahim Adam Imam (immediate younger brother).
Founder and former President of Kano Sickle Cell Community, Asma’u Ahmad Rufai remembers Imam as being compassionate and caring and always putting others’ needs before her own. ‘She worked tirelessly to bring hope to the sickle cell community – she was my best friend.’