“If I had not initiated the micro-credit scheme and was later framed and imprisoned for one night I wouldn’t have had such experience” Dr Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu remarked as she reflected over her fate.
The women’s rights campaigner had just spent one night in prison after she was maliciously accused of stealing funds from a women’s emancipation scheme that she fought for.
“The lesson is that leadership comes with it scars”, Bolere was quoted as saying several years ago, “one must be ready to bear the scars that come with the crown.”
The author of those words uttered from the deep, who eventually championed reforms for women held in prison, after her release is no more.
She was buried Sunday after she passed on. Her departure at 66 is being mourned by the people of Bayelsa State, the Federal Government, members of the diplomatic community and women across Nigeria.
Although there are speculations relating to the root cause of her death, neither her family nor the medical authorities who may have seen her before death struck has issued any clear position.
Dr. Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu devoted her life to the championing of women’s rights.
She rose through the ranks from local government officer of the National Council for Women Societies, NCWS, to become its national president.
She studied Medicine at the University of Lagos and became a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians.
Dr Ketebu was elected into the House of Representatives (representing Yenagoa Federal Constituency, between 1992 and 1993).
She conceived the micro credit scheme for women’s groups and associations, toured Nigeria for 62 days and administered the loan, but was later wrongly accused of fraud and consequently remanded in police custody.
She spent a night in Suleja prison, where she experienced first-hand the plight of imprisoned women, and was inspired to equip the prison with modern, female friendly facilities.
President Muhammadu Buhari who consoled the Ketebu family as well as the Bayelsa State Government said in his condolence message that the deceased served Nigeria creditably in several capacities.
Buhari recalled that Dr Ketebu served as President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Secretary to the Bayelsa State government, Member, House of Representatives, and Ambassador to Ireland.
The President prayed that God would grant repose to the soul of the departed medical doctor-cum-diplomat, and comfort all those mourning her demise.
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