Umaru Shinkafi was born in 1937 in Sokoto State. He completed his secondary education at the police college in Kaduna and joined the Nigerian police force in 1959. In 1973 graduated from the University of Lagos and a year later, he graduated from the Nigerian Law School.
He was a Federal Commissioner of Internal Affairs in 1975 and later became the head of the National Security Organization in 1979. Shinfafi was a Nigerian politician, an intelligence chief, and Federal Commissioner of Internal Affairs.
He pioneered the creation of the National Security Organisation, NSO, the secretive security arm of the Nigerian security apparatus which he headed from 1979 till 1983. Following his retirement from the police and the NSO, Umaru, entered into business and eventually into politics and was one of the leading lights of the conservative side of Nigerian politics in the ill-fated Third Republic.
During the Nigerian third republic, Shinkafi was one of the promoters of the Nigerian National Congress (NNC) a political association formed in 1989 after the disbanding of poltiical groups by the Babangida administration.
His bid for the presidency in the Third Republic led him to the formation the defunct Nigerian National Congress, NNC which eventually collapsed into the National Republican Convention, NRC.
He died in London from an undisclosed illness on 6 July 2016.