Buckingham alumni becomes Nigeria’s Culture Minister

24 August 2023

A former University of Buckingham law student has been appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy.

Hannatu Musawa became a barrister and human rights activist after graduating with an LLB in 1999. She also founded her own law firm in Nigeria, Hanney Musawa & Associates and succeeds Layiwola Mohammed, the culture minister since 2015. She also worked as a solicitor in Britain.

Her legal background may prove helpful to Ms Musawa in negotiating the return of Benin bronzes from Europe and the US and plans for the construction of new museums in Nigeria. She also writes a weekly newspaper column that she says “is a forum she uses to speak out, without fear or favour, on behalf of Nigerians who have no voice”.

President Bola Tinubu, who took office in May, also appointed Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar, as foreign minister. Mr Tuggar negotiated with the German government on the restitution from German museums of more than 1,100 Benin bronzes whose ownership was transferred to Nigeria last year.

Ms Musawa grew up in the state of Katsina as one of 12 children. In a lengthy tribute to her father, who died earlier this year, she wrote of his journey from rural poverty and a job selling kola nuts to the BBC African service, Cambridge University, the Nigerian foreign service and a leading role in Nigerian politics and thanked him for “teaching me about equality and the importance of accepting those who may not be like me or as privileged as me”.