The nation received with deep sadness the passing of Professor Umaru Shehu, a distinguished Nigerian scholar and medical professional, on 2 October 2023. He departed this world in the afternoon, leaving behind a legacy that will forever resonate in the fields of medicine, academia, and community health.
Born on December 8, 1930, in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Professor Umaru Shehu’s journey of excellence began early in life. His educational path led him through notable institutions, including Kaduna College, University College Ibadan, and the University of Liverpool, where he acquired a wealth of knowledge that would later shape his illustrious career.
Professor Shehu’s commitment to the medical profession was unwavering. He embarked on his medical career in the United Kingdom, working as a Pre-registration House Surgeon before returning to serve in the Government of Northern Nigeria as a dedicated Medical Officer. Over the years, he ascended through the ranks, demonstrating not only his medical expertise but also his leadership qualities.
His academic contributions were equally significant. Joining Ahmadu Bello University, he held various positions, including Reader and Acting Head of the Department of Community Medicine. Professor Shehu’s dedication to academia culminated in his appointment as Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from 1978 to 1980, where he left an indelible mark.
Beyond borders, Professor Shehu’s influence extended to international organisations like the World Health Organisation, where he served as a consultant and representative in various capacities, contributing to global health initiatives.
His commitment to professional organisations was remarkable. He held leadership positions in numerous medical and scientific associations, leaving a lasting impact on the medical community.
Professor Umaru Shehu’s achievements were recognised with honours and awards, including honorary doctorates and national distinctions. He was a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), testifying his outstanding contributions to his homeland.
Throughout his remarkable life, Professor Umaru Shehu was not only a dedicated professional but also a loving family man, blessed with children and a devoted spouse.
As his professional colleagues and indeed the whole nation bid farewell to this exceptional scholar, healer, and leader, they remember Professor Umaru Shehu for his extraordinary contributions to medicine, academia, and society. His legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.