Shitou was born in Nigeria in 1933 where he first worked as a tailor and merchant. In the mid-1950s, he began learning photography from Mama Awane, eventually moving to Mopti, Mali in 1962. In Mali, Shitou continued his photographic education alongside Malian photographer Bosco Maiga. During this time, Shitou traveled extensively throughout the country, settling first in Gao and then in Bamako. He continued to travel throughout southern Africa in search of photographic subjects and photographic mentors. In 1971, he settled again in Mopti with his second wife, Sarah Woussouf. Here he established his studio, Gangal, where he worked until his death in 2000.