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First professor of veterinary medicine in Northern Nigeria passes on

The first professor of veterinary medicine in Northern Nigeria and a former chairman of Bida local government in Niger state, and first professor in Nupeland, Shehu Jibrin

The first professor of veterinary medicine in Northern Nigeria and a former chairman of Bida local government in Niger state, Shehu Jibrin, is dead.

Jibrin who was Marafan Nupe and the first Nupe professor died in the early hours of Thursday in Bida at the age of 86 after a brief illness.

The Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, has described the death of Prof Shehu Bida, Marafan Nupe, as a monumental loss to the kin Nupe, Niger state and the country, in general.

According to the monarch, the death of the late University Don was an irreplaceable loss and his demise has created a wide vacuum, too difficult to fill.

The traditional ruler also described the late Marafan Nupe, as an  academician par excellence and an astute politician.

The Etsu Nupe said that, the deceased had created positive precedence of mutual inter-relationship between the rich, the peasants, the old and the young.

He further described the late Marafan Nupe as a humble gentleman who was incontestibly   known for fairness and justice who shown genuine love to the people living in his domain, irrespective of their tribes, as well as rreligious inclinations.

“In spite of these, he was also a Godly Father who had the interests of his subjects at heart above any other thing. Though God has His reasons for taking him at this point in time,  the people of the state had enjoyed his Fatherly advice and he will be greatly missed.

“He was also a peace maker and an amiable personality who was at home with his people, whose vacuum would be difficult to fill,” he added.

His life

Jibrin was born on October 1st 1934. He started his primary education at Shahuci Elementary School in 1942 and attended other elementary schools at Muregi, Bida and finally Minna where in 1947-1948 he proceeded to Bida Middle School in the then Niger Province.

He attended Keffi secondary school between 1949-1954, where he obtained his Cambridge School Certificate. In 1955-1957 he left for Vom School where he was trained as Veterinary Assistant. He attended Veterinary College, Tuskegee, Alabama, in the USA where he obtained his First Degree (Doctor) of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from 1962-1967.

Professor Shehu took his first appointment with the Northen Government in the Ministry of Animal Health and Forestry as 3rd Class Veterinary Assistant in training and was posted to Niger Province.

He worked as field Veterinary Assistant in Kuta, Keffi, Abuja (now Suleja) and Utachu Livetock Settlement in Kontagora In 1962.

Professor Shehu worked as Veterinary Assistant and Assistant Technical Officer in various provinces including former Benue and Zaria Provinces. He was also appointed Veterinary Officer and deployed to Sokoto in the then Northwestern State.

His transfer of service as lecturer to Ahmadu Bello University was effected in 1967. In 1976 he was appointed as a Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Co-operative.

As Commissioner, he oversaw other ministries like the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural resources and Ministry of Health.

Professor Shehu in 1986 became the President of NOMA (N.S.) Limited and Chairman of various commercial organizations including Niger State Livestock Company which was founded in 1986.

He resigned as chairman of all commercial organizations to context for Chairman Gbako Local Government.

In the field of research and publication, Professor Bida had to his credit forty eight (48) publications and presentations at national and international reputable journals and conference up to 1996.

His research and professional achievements earned him the Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Technicians, Certified and Distinguished Industrial Technologists, Ambassador of Technological Discipline all in 1993 and one of foundation fellows of the College of Veterinary Surgeons of Nigeria in 1998.

He reached the peak of his discipline in 1972 when he became the first professor in veterinary medicine in Northern Nigeria.

Professor Shehu was democratically elected Chairman of Former Gbako Local Government in 1988. His election into the Local Council was said to be a steppingstone into Nigerian politics and he came into office under zero party system.

He left behind three wives, many children and  grandchildren.