Born in Chanchaga Leprosy Hospital, Nigeria, Shem is a pharmacist with qualifications in Nigeria and the UK. His political appointments in Nigeria include seven years as Commissioner for Niger State Government (Ministry of Works, Lands and Survey and Ministry of Health). Shem was elected Deputy Governor of Niger State in 1999 and re-elected in 2003. He held the portfolio of Health and Social Development for eight years. He is the Board Chairman of The Leprosy Mission Nigeria.