MAIDUGURI – On Monday, December 7 our dear colleague Ms. Fatima Idris Bultu was the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Tragically, she died from her injuries the next day. She was just 47 years old.
Search for Common Ground in Nigeria and the global Search for Common Ground community mourn Fatima’s tragic passing. We lost a highly esteemed colleague and friend, and Nigeria lost one of its brightest and most influential emerging leaders in media and peacebuilding.
Fatima was a powerful voice for peace and justice, taken from us much too soon.
From a young age, she found ways to speak to millions of Nigerians in an authentic manner that amplified the intrinsic human dignity in every person, reflected an inspiring vision for the future, and expressed an unwavering commitment to turn that vision into a reality.
Fatima became a journalist and a well-known and loved producer and presenter on Peace FM, an independent radio station in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. In 2018 she joined Search for Common Ground, where she pioneered media programming to prevent recruitment by violent extremist groups. Fatima produced her show Mu Farfado Da Yaran Mu (Dignifying our Children) alongside young people formerly associated with armed groups, whom she had trained. Every episode was based on a true story of a young person who she and her colleagues had supported to reintegrate into their community. Fatima’s work raised awareness of the plight of former combatants and directly touched the lives of countless young people, through whom her legacy will live on for decades.
Fatima also emerged as a powerful advocate for gender equality in Nigeria. Her radio programs provided a platform for women to talk about human rights, health, and forced marriages. Most recently, her work called attention to the struggle of women facing domestic violence amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The impact of Fatima’s work resonated well beyond Nigeria’s borders and earned her an international profile such that she was in high demand as a researcher and speaker. She regularly contributed to global conferences on preventing and transforming violent extremism, and offered guidance and evidence for researchers and policymakers.
We will miss Fatima terribly, and we express our most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and many admirers. May she rest in peace.