Salamatu Suleiman: Ecowas Commissioner for Political Affairs

salamatuecowasMrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman is a performance-driven individual who enjoys working in fast-paced, challenging environments. She is the current Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. In fact, she is the first woman to hold the top position of PAPS in the sub-regional body.

Born in Argugu, a fishing community in Kebbi State on October 27, 1960, her father was an area court judge, while her mother came from the Gwandu royal family in Kebbi.  Mrs Suleiman attended Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria between 1973-1977 for her secondary school education. She was at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, 1978-1981 for a law degree (LLB Hon) and at Nigeria Law School, Lagos, 1981-1982 for Barrister at Law.

She was also at London School of Economics & Political Science, University of London, between 1986-1987 where she obtained Master’s Degree in Law (LLM) with Distinction in “Multinational Enterprise and the law”

After her National Youth Service in Sokoto in 1983, she was employed as a State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice, Sokoto State where her duties included public prosecution, civil litigation, Legal drafting and legal advice to various arms of government between 1983 and 1989. She was also in the banking sector working first at Continental Merchant Bank of Nigeria plc – 1992-1996 and later at NAL Merchant Bank(Nigeria)Plc – 1996- 1997.

In 1997, she moved to Alumni Smelter Company of Nigeria Limited (ALSCON) as Secretary/legal Adviser between 1997 and 2001. She was later appointed Secretary and Director Legal Service, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2001 – 2008.

After the election of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Salamatu was appointed Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development from December 2008 to March 2010. It was President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that appointed her Minister of State for Foreign affairs in August 2010 to May 2011.

Hajia Salamatu is a member of various professional bodies which include: International Bar association, Nigeria Bar Association, Institute of Directors (IOD) and Federation of International D’Abogadas (FIDA).

She has attended several courses at home and abroad including Board Master Class organized by the Management School, London and Executive Development Training organized by MTCI, Dubai all in 2008. Others included: Chief Executive and Directors’ Programme, organized by BEEC International, in Ghana 2007; International Company Secretaries and corporate Legal advisers Course Management School, London- April, 2006, African Regional Capital Markets Training Programme – Sept. 2005, Abuja, Nigeria; Capitals markets: Development & Regulations organized by the International law Institute in Association with Georgetown University, USA in April,2004 and Islamic Finance & Investment Conference,- Oasis Group cape Town in South Africa in September 2003.

As a Minister of Women Affairs she succeeded in pumping life in gender and other women issues. She is an advocate of gender equality and decries marginalization of women in Nigerian politics. She championed the campaign that urged the states to give women at least 30% representation in elective and appointive positions. She is widely known for her advocacy for the education of the girl-child and decency in female appearances. A mentor to many young women, she often said that “God has given the woman inherent capabilities, potential, capacities and it behooves on them to explore those potential and contribute to the home and nation.”


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