Everyone knows Aisha Buhari as President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, but not everyone is aware that there was a woman called Safinatu Buhari. She was a trained teacher and the president’s late wife who served as first lady of Nigeria when her husband was head of state between 1983 and 1985.

Here are throwback photos of Safinatu and six facts about her.

Safinatu Buhari was born in 1952 in Jos, Plateau state. Her parents were Alhaji Yusuf Mani and Hajia Hadizatu Mani. She was a trained teacher who obtained her Grade 2 certificate at Women Teachers College (WTC), Katsina, in the year 1971, Fulani News Media reports.

Buhari and Safinatu met each other when the latter was 14 years of age.

At the time of their meeting, Buhari who was in the Nigerian Army had accompanied his friend, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua, to see Safinatu’s father.

The Nigerian civil war ended in 1970 and Muhammadu Buhari and Safinatu got married in December 1971 when Safinatu was 18 years.

Safinatu and Buhari had four kids together, all girls.

According to City People, when Buhari was released from incarceration, he ended his marriage with Safinatu. The reason why he took the decision wasn’t stated but many believed that it was because Safinatu disobeyed her husband’s instruction to steer clear of the Babangida family.

Ibrahim Babaginda toppled Buhari’s government in a coup and put him in detention. While in detention, Buhari had warned Safinatu not to have anything to do with his jailer’s family.

Safinatu had dealings with the Babangidas partly to help her cope with life, and also to use the opportunity to get her husband released.

Safinatu was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998. She lived with the illness for eight years before succumbing to it on January 14, 2006.


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