Since Thursday evening, many Nigerians have taken to the social media to express shock, sadness and outrage at the gloomy news of the kidnap and murder of a five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar by her school proprietor, Abdulmalik Muhammad Tanko, in Kano.
Elsewhere in Zaria, residents have been thrown into mourning after one Kabir kidnapped an eight-year-old Asma’u – the daughter of his next-door neighbour, Alhaji Shuaibu Wa’alamu – and killed her after spending over 40 days in captivity.
She was eventually killed by the proprietor upon realising that his late pupil had recognised his face and could expose him.
Her body was later discovered in a shallow grave after nearly two months of fruitless search.
Her gruesome murder has further raised questions as to how the moral fabric of society has lost its hue in the past years.
Hanifa, the only child of her parents, was named Murja, after her aunt, who is also her guardian since she was two years old. She was abducted in December and her captors had demanded a N6million ransom.
However, while trying to collect the ransom, security operatives arrested the 38-year-old proprietor alongside Hashim Isyaku, 37; Fatima Jibreel Musa, 27; and the wife of the main suspect; all of Tudun Murtala Quarters, Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
The mood in Kano metropolitan areas, with its over four million population, has been sombre since Thursday evening, with individuals gathering in groups to try to come to terms with the development.
The sad development has changed the thinking that children are safer in schools, with residents of the commercial centre of Nigeria still trying to wrap their heads around what must have been going through the mind of the main suspect to make him go ahead with the barbaric act.
While Kano is considered relatively the safest state in the North-West region of the country that has been battling with banditry, other criminal activities like the kidnap of children, drug abuse, prostitution, phone snatching, among others, have continued to send shivers down the spines of residents.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that cases of child abduction have been one of the major security challenges confronting the state, with several abducted children from the state traced as far as some South-East states.
What did Hanifa do to you?’
At the Kano State police command on Friday, the mood was further sombre when Fatima Abubakar laid eyes on the killer of her daughter.
Immediately she sighted Tanko, she charged towards him, raining slaps and blows on him as she demanded why he took her daughter’s life.
“What did Hanifa do to you? Why did you kill my daughter?” were the two questions she kept asking the suspect until policemen whisked the prime suspect away.
Daily Trust gathered that since the news of Hanifa’s death broke, the girl’s guardian has been acting in a strange way and taken to hospital as a result of the shock.
Hanifa’s father, Abubakar Usman, could not hold back tears when he spoke with journalists at the command.
“I am really in sorrow for what has happened. I can only thank God because this can happen to anyone, and it is said that everyone who lives today will die one day. So, I leave everything to God, but till I die, I will never forget this.
“Those who did this to me have not been fair to me, neither have they been fair to the world. God will fight for us,” he said amidst tears.
He thanked the security operatives and journalists for their efforts in finding the remains of his daughter.
He went on, “They (the suspects) will definitely face the wrath of the law. They are really wicked to the highest order, especially the principal suspect that has been her teacher for a long time. She regarded him too much, but he misused it and cheated her.
“This is somebody that, after he knew he had killed the girl, for many days kept threatening us to pay the ransom or else she would be killed. He finally collected the money. Instead of us to receive our daughter alive we ended up receiving her rotten corpse.”
Usman called on parents to be vigilant with their children’s movement.
‘I used N100 rat poison to kill her’
When paraded, the suspect, who did not show any remorse, confessed to using N100 rat poison to end the life of Hanifa.
He said that after picking her in a tricycle, he lied to his wife that she was the daughter of one of the women working in his school who travelled and that the girl would be staying with them for some days.
“I realised that the girl’s parents were informed that when picking her, she made mention of ‘uncle.’ This gave me the impression that they might be suspecting me as the uncle.
“After some days, some of my teachers visited my house very early in the morning, and when they came, I was also suspecting that they were sent over to the house to find out whether the girl was there with me; that was on the 5th day after the kidnap. That was when I conceived the idea of killing her,” the suspect said.
He narrated that it was around 11pm when the girl was already sleeping that he woke her up.
“I was drinking tea at that time, so I put the remaining one in an empty container of yoghurt and poured a rat poison inside and gave it to the girl,” he narrated.
He said he later took her to one of his schools, where she died, adding that he buried her in the school because he was not able to find any secure place to dig a hole.