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HANIFA: How Nigerians’ forgetfulness caused her death

HANIFA: How Nigerians’ forgetfulness caused her death

By Faruk Ahmed

Hanifa Abubakar’s death in the hands of her teacher reflects why Nigerians’ poor memories cause the never-ending problems we face

Hanifa Abubakar, an amiable, innocent, beautiful and promising young pupil was allegedly kidnapped, poisoned, butchered and buried by her school head, Abdulmalik Tanko in Kano. And this is after the perpetrator had collected a tranche of her ransom money.

There was deservedly a hullabaloo, hue and cry across the nation and the world in the wake of the gruesome murder. But give Nigerians two to three months and the whole debacle will be swept under the carpet.

In 2012, I remember going to the headquarters of a parastatal in Kano state in the heights of the Boko Haram insurgency in the state. I was subjected to rigorous scrutiny before I was allowed into the agency. But today, the whole place is wide open like a poor harlot’s lap.

This same scenario plays out across all security posts in the state, and maybe other states in the nation. Does it mean that the insurgency’s threats are gone? No. Quite the opposite.

But the forgetfulness of the Nigerian populace, which transcends to their leaders, makes them jettison any policy the moment they feel their immediate pressing needs have been fulfilled.

If per adventure, the dreaded insurgents strike tomorrow, all security blocks will spring up, but to be dismantled again after the dust has settled.

Memory lane

Before Hanifa, there had been the unfortunate incidents of south-easterners ferrying off Kano children to be sold and adopted in the south.

What gave the Igbo man the audacity to stow away a Hausa child? Did they he break into the homes of their would-be victims? No! They picked them off the streets. A Hausa adage says, “Idan bera na sata, daddawa ma na wari!”

This was what led the former of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, to query northerners’ mindset. He said, “People are talking that Igbo kidnapped our children. Yes, they did. But do they enter your house and steal them? Or you left your 3-year-old child roaming the street without knowing their whereabouts until they were missing?”

But the North, especially Kano elites, were up in arms against Sanusi II, calling him all sorts of names.

If you have an ailment, you do not just treat the symptoms alone. You treat the root cause also. “Rigakafi yafi magana!”

Mumbo jumbo

Some might describe my ranting as nonsensical, insensitive and irrelevant at this moment of collective bereavement. Please do not mistake my vituperations.

What Tanko, the alleged killer of Hanifa, and his cohorts did is a breach of trust of the highest order. And it is my hope that the courts and governments will mete out the appropriate punishment on the offenders.

Furthermore, it is imperative on the legislatures, the governments and the security apparatchiks at all levels to implement measures that will deter others and prevents such dastardly actions from ever happening in our midst.

My worry is that, just like the kidnapping case, after this hullabaloo, you wouldn’t be able to count on one of your fingers any government policy that will forestall such cruel acts. Parents wouldn’t still take preventive measures to safeguard their young ones.

Hence, in the next five months, the cruel butchery of Hanifa would have been a thing of history and we will continue our lives as if nothing horrible of such magnitude has ever happened… until another dastardly act jolts us from our collective slumbers into another state of consciousness.

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