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Engr Mamman Muhammad

Engr Mamman Muhammad, mni, MNSE, MNIM, electrical engineer, foremost Islamic scholar, great sportsman, former SSG and later Niger State commissioner for works, has died February 20, 2017, at the age of 72. A man whose middle name might as well be Mr Electricity, he designed and managed the power master plan and projects that brought electricity to many small towns in Niger State for the first time. Under his unforgettable leadership at Niger State Rural Electricity Board (REB), Kutigi, Mokwa, Rijau, Kuta, Paiko, Doko, Katcha, and Zungeru were lighted up with diesel powered generators. Others are Agaie, Lapai, Wushishi and Auna, an incomparable feat achieved largely by direct labour. He was a man of many firsts, a man fated to enter history books in large bold prints: He was the first Muslim student to be appointed as head boy of St. Paul’s College (now Kufena College, Zaria); was a member of the first hockey team to win Hospidales Cup in 1966, a proud team he captained the following year to a memorable final; was pioneer general manager of REB, and was also pioneer executive chairman of Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Commission. Grounded in the rudiments of science even at tender age, his first jobs were as temporary maths teacher, first at Wudil Craft School, Kano, in 1968, and later at Sokoto Teachers College, in 1969. After graduating from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1971, he took up appointment with Ministry of Works, North Western State in 1971 as pupil electrical engineer, a job he vacated to work with Niger Dams Authority, the precursor to the famed NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) and its successor and inheritor, PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria). His time in NEPA would go down in the annals as an exemplary case of inter-governmental relations, during which he liaised with several state REBs, on behalf of his employers, to harmonize their rural electrification programmes with NEPA Countrywide Rural Electrification. In 1987, he was appointed to the office of secretary to the military government (SMG) of Niger State, concurrently donning the cap as head of service (HoS), the nomenclature later changed to secretary to the state government (SSG) and HoS. There were several highlights of his tenure in the most powerful office in the state bureaucracy, but the one much talked about was when the state acquired bulk loan for distribution to civil servants at zero interest rate, a gesture influenced both by his humanity and religious inclination. In decades long career with the state civil service, he represented the state on the boards of several organisations in which the state shared joint interests with others  or had singular ownership; among these are Kaduna Polytechnic, New Nigeria Development Company, College of Education, Minna, Justice FatiLamiAbubakar College for Legal and General Studies. In retirement, he was active in the leadership and management of several bodies, spiritual or temporal, such as Islamic Education Trust, Means Company Ltd, International Islamic Charitable Organisation, and Police Community Relations Committee. A member of Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), he was also its inspector in the state, appointed in 1997.

He is survived by seven children, five boys and two girls.

TAURARUWA