By Umoro Ibrahim
The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) is devastated by the recent heinous murder of five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar in Kano.
The innocent little girl lost her life after being abducted and later murdered by Abdulmalik Tanko, the proprietor of her school. It is a significant blow to the sanctity of human life that an innocent small child like Hanifa was targeted by murderers and her life taken in the most barbaric manner possible.
Even more tragic is the fact that the child’s school proprietor committed the murder, despite the fact that he was entrusted to nurture, care for, and protect her.
CHRICED stands with Hanifa’s entire family during this trying time as they come to terms with this horrific and unfortunate development. CHRICED calls for the support of all good citizens and the Nigerian government as the family of Hanifa seeks justice for their cherished daughter. In a case like this, where the sacred nature of human life has been violated, the authorities must send a clear message to criminals that society will not tolerate any assault that undermines citizens’ right to life.
Section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that all persons residing in the country have a right to life and that no one shall be intentionally deprived of his life unless he is convicted of a criminal offense. As a result, it is clear that Hanifa’s premeditated murder, as well as the unlawful killings of numerous other citizens throughout the country, constitute an assault on the Constitution, which the federal, state, and local governments swore to protect. Apart from the outrage and condemnation of this heinous act, justice in this case must be swift. Additionally, the victim’s family must receive all necessary psychosocial support in order to cope with the horrors associated with such a premeditated murder of their child.
While praying to Allah for eternal rest for the soul of the murdered girl, it is also appropriate to use this tragic occasion to reflect on the country’s appalling state of child rights. This reality is evident in the fact that only 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted the Child’s Right Act (2003), which is the law that guarantees the rights of all children in the country. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 12 states have failed to adopt the Act, including Kano State, where Hanifa was murdered.
Even in states that have adopted the Act, implementation has been non-existent, resulting in numerous violations of children’s rights. Therefore, CHRICED advocates for a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to identifying and preventing threats to children’s rights. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on economies and disrupting people’s lives, this approach becomes even more compelling. Gender-based violence and attacks on vulnerable groups such as women and children have increased during the pandemic period. As a result, it is critical that duty bearers at all levels of government, including the federal, state, and local governments, take the necessary steps to save lives.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!