Dr Fatima Akilu
Visiting Senior Research Fellow
Dr Fatima Akilu was appointed as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the African Leadership Centre in 2020. She is a leading practitioner on the Centre's Practice of Leadership programme.
Fatima is the Executive Director of Neem Foundation, Nigeria. She is also a university educator and an advocate for marginalised groups and has worked in the area of psychology and health for more than two decades.
She has had extensive experience working with forensic dually diagnosed mentally retarded women, violent offenders and sex offenders. Prior to this, she was head of communication for the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals. She was also Chairman of the Editorial Board Leadership Newspapers.
Until recently, Fatima was the Director of the Behavioral Analysis and Strategic Communication unit at the Office of the National Security Advisor, which has developed a multi-pronged approach to countering violent extremism (CVE). This consists of prison de-radicalisation, counter radicalisation geared at building community resilience, and a strategic communication effort, including public diplomacy and messaging. Nigeria’s CVE programme, which she designed, also includes policy changes in the areas of education and mental health through the provision of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) counselling.
Fatima is also a children’s writer and hosted a weekly radio show, Radio Psych, which discusses social and psychological issues. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in Research Methods in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology from Reading University in Berkshire. She has authored more than 17 children’s books and has published articles on homelessness and mental health.