Umaru Shehu, the first Emeritus Professor in Nigeria, has passed away at the age of 97.
This was disclosed in a statement on Monday, October 2, in Maiduguri by Dr. Bulama Gubio, the secretary of the Borno Elders Forum.
Gubio reported that Shehu, a renowned professor of medicine, passed away on Monday morning.
Lamenting Prof Shehu’s death on Monday, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate described his passing as a great loss to Nigeria
For his tireless lifetime efforts to improve public health, Pate said, “Nigeria has lost a great medical statesman in Prof. Umaru Shehu.”
Describing the life of Professor Shehu as an invaluable asset, Pate said he was someone who dedicated his scholarship and professional life to the advancement of population health outcomes.
Announcing the death of Nigeria’s foremost health ambassador, Gubio said: “We regret to announce the demise of our founding father of both Kanem Borno Historical and Cultural Foundation (KBHCF) as well as the BEF.
“Professor Emeritus Umaru Shehu, CFR, Dr Shettima Ali Monguno and Maina Ibrahim Damcida were the founding fathers of BEF.
“All three have now left us. He was the last of the titans. May Allah have mercy upon them.
“May Allah have mercy upon our foremost professor of community medicine and global giant in the field of medicine.”
Prof Shehu held visiting professorships at numerous universities, including the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, United States, from 1976 to 1977.
He was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from 1978 to 1980.
Additionally, he was a founding fellow of the West African College of Physicians, the Nigerian Academy of Science, the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, and the Faculty of Community Medicine (Nigeria).
Shehu became a Professor Emeritus in 2000 after being named an Honorary Consultant Physician in 1991.
Professor Pate in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser Media and External Relations, Tashikalmah Hallah, said the exit of the renowned physician was an irreparable loss.
“Professor Umar Shehu has been an inspiration to many generations of physicians and public health practitioners, whom he taught and mentored over a distinguished lifetime.”
The minister recalled the leadership role late Professor Shehu played in the fight to eradicate smallpox and wild polio virus in the country, a performance he said the country will always remember.
“Despite advancing in age Prof Umaru Shehu was never tired of giving advice or traveling to engage on important issues of health.
“We have indeed lost today our elder medical statesman, a great scholar, and a fantastic human being, Prof emeritus Umaru Shehu.
“May Allah grant his soul aljannah firdaus Amin. We extend deepest condolences to his family,” Pate prayed.