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Hansatu Zannah was vacationing in America with her children when she read on Facebook that her husband, Zannah Umar Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno state, had died.

Hansatu had spoken to her husband the previous night and by the time she returned to Nigeria, he had been buried as demanded by their religion. After the death of her husband, it was hard for Hansatu to get on her feet because for the twenty years she was with her husband, she was financially dependent on him.

Although, she never lacked, Hansatu told MRH in an interview that, if she had the opportunity to turn back the hands of time, she would have been self-reliant. She urged women to get something doing irrespective of their husband’s financial status because of life’s uncertainties.

She said,

Yeah, what I would have done is to at least put more pressure on my hubby to be self reliant, that would have been difficult though because I had everything at my disposal and was too comfortable and lazy (chuckles). As much as one is comfortable I think one should have something doing especially when the children are grown. That is why it took me two years to get on my feet. I had to close the business for a year because I did not know where and how to start.


A woman should be productive even if you are married to a billionaire. You should keep yourself busy, have a knowledge and experience on how the business is being run so that in case of any uncertainties you know how to manage the family, business and have something to fall back on if not people would want to take advantage of the fact that you have no idea of what you are doing. If you have all the businesses and money and you don’t know how to run it within the twinkle of an eye everything will be gone.

Someone told me it’s quite unfortunate your northern men don’t want you women to work that is why it’s so difficult for you northern women to pick up. Even the prophet’s wife was a business woman. So for me, I think every woman should be enterprising and up and doing.

Read full interview on



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