"Nigeria of the colonial days, especially Northern Nigeria, was a place where most parents felt that Western education was a thing only good for the male. The traditional thinking then was that the girl child should be married off into her husband's home where she could get all the good things of life.
This practice partially accounts for the low number of educated women of northern origin in Nigeria. For the few who managed to secure Western Education, they worked all their life as subordinates to the men. Yet against this backdrop has risen a powerful Nigerian amazon, from Borno State, who has beaten many men to the background in the game of professionalism and excellence in Nigeria’s civil service. She is Dr. (Mrs.) Hajia Ammuna-Lawan Ali.
Born on 13th January 1953, Ammuna-Lawan Ali attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, where she obtained a Bachelor of Art degree. On completion of her compulsory National Youth Service (NYSC), she joined the Borno State Civil Service as a planning Officer in the Ministry of Lands and Survey, Maiduguri. She then proceeded to the United States of America to pursue a Diploma programme in Environmental Studies. On her return to the country she was transferred to the Borno State Ministry of Education Maiduguri, where she rose to the rank of Acting Registrar. She obtained a Masters Degree in Public Administration in the University of Maiduguri in 1986. In January 1989 she was appointed to the substantive post of Registrar and was given a special Assignment as Sole Administrator of the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, from July 1989 to February 1990.
Back in the mainstream of the Civil Service, she was appointed Director-General, in 1990, and Executive Secretary, Borno State Emergency Relief Agency in 1991. She was appointed Permanent Secretary in 1992 and served in the State Commission for Women, Ministries of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Co-operative, as well as the Ministry of Education. She attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru and obtained a Certificate of Membership of the Institute (mni) in 1995.
In her quest to contribute her own quota to the development of the country, she joined the Federal Civil Service in August 1995 as a Director, and was posted to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. From there, she moved to the Federal Ministry of Finance as Director Foreign Exchange and Trade Relations. In January 2001, she was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service and was deployed to the Federal Ministry of Commerce where she served for three years before moving to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. In her capacity as the permanent Secretary of the Petroleum Ministry, she was then OPEC’s Governor for Nigeria. In recognition of her meritorious service, Ammuna-Lawan Ali was given a National Honor, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the year 2003.
She is a member of various professional bodies as well as voluntary organizations. She is indeed a veritable amazon among men to have attained all of these. Dr. (Mrs.) Hajia Ammuna-Lawan Ali, OON, mni, is married to Engr. Ibrahim Ali and they are blessed with children.