On Hanifa’s Murder; Highlighting Need for Communalism - Nusaiba Ibrahim


By Nusaiba Ibrahim

Every sane person in this wide world that has come across stories leading to the arrest of Hanifa’s murderer cannot possibly escape torment of the mind, let alone viewing the horrific videos/images showing the remains of Hanifa and that of her mother in obvious excruciating distress widely shared on social media platforms. The turning point especially, the reveal of Hanifa’s teacher as her murderer is particularly traumatizing. In today’s world,one would have to wonder the type of cruelty horned to cut short the life a promising young girl – her dreams shattered.

For Hanifa’s parents, they are quite fortunate as ‘communal efforts’both online and offline roared so high that it captured the attention of many around the world–a complete barbaric act that is out of normality and this makes hopes for a deserving justice high. From the day she was declared missing, you could sparingly see the picture of young Hanifa Abubakar, radiant and full of life while scrolling through pages of friends and colleagues on the most common social media platforms used in Nigeria and specifically Kano – Facebook, What’s App and Twitter. With the help of her mother’s relative (alias a member of Nigerian Civil Defense Corps), a chain of security activities led to the arrest of Abdulmalik Tanko (the killer) hands down and later on, his accomplices.

Like all topical issues, the aftermath of the arrest of the Hanifa’s murdererand uncovering the mystery has generated a multitude of contestations creating two major blocks widening the conversation. Fewpeople circling around the maximum attention given to Hanifa’s incidencewhichwas not accorded equally to other criminal acts of similar nature, while a lot of others constituting the maximum saw the thoughtof the few as a way of sympathizing with Hanifa’s teacher, thereby re-enforcing the ‘an eye for an eye’ maxim, which I wholeheartedly support. Of course similar deaths have occurred in the past and even within the span of time that the news of Hanifa’s murder broke out which weren’t roared as this – sadly they end up as mere discussions in local radio stations.Perhaps, pictures of the murders not being shared online is among the reason for the neglect of tons of such atrocities.

While I do not question legal proceedings, what is evident is that majority of phone snatchers who have killed innocent lives in Kano are sometimes seen roaming about the streets freely. Through episodes of current affairs programs aired at night on majority of local radio stations such narratives have often been highlighted.As much as the kind of murders carried out vary, they all deserve an eye for an eye, for they all are criminals.Whatever the case, the harm caused by Abdulmalik and other offenders alike cannot be undone.

With debates stillongoing now, acloser look at this dispensation (Hanifa’s Murder) has enshrouded the importance of communal efforts as unrivalled when it comes to seeking for justice and alerting general public about the grievousness of  burning issue, especiallyas young Hanifa’s story poses doubts in the minds of parents of school children. The outrage of the public on this issue isn’t comparable to any of such kind; every small gathering or group of people vigorously discussed it extensively. Efforts of people both online and offline put in amplifying the horrific incidence is absolutely commendable and long overdue at the same time.

Communality is the most indispensable element we need at the moment to restoresanity that is gradually escaping from our social institutions. Essentially, it binds all existing social structures together thereby eliminating all the gaps for alien elements to creep in and cause a dysfunction as we have seen in the past. We all have noticed the voices of the President Buhari and the first lady echoing justice for Hanifa and the swift action of the Kano State government to pronounce that they would promptly endorse a deserving justice for Abdulmalik Tanko. To put is simple, the outcry of the public has collectively worked; now we know that a child belongs to all of us and cruelty knows no bounds.

‘Yankaba, where Hanifa was kidnapped alongside Ring road, Hadejia Road among others have become increasingly vulnerable to child kidnappings. Obviously, they are urban settlements with a mixture of new and existing families that live almost individually. Yes, because most of the households decide to live the urban style, hencethey become vulnerable to evil acts not only kidnappings. Around 12 to 1pm every working day you cannot help but ponder about how risky it is for children to come back safely to their homes from nearby private schools when these areas are less busy.Reports have largely documented how children along such areas have been kidnapped.

Social insitutions in Kano and Nigeria have apparently been built on the pillars of commonness (communalism) and not individualism where common good for all is the ‘mantra’. Overtime this key principle has unfortunately been replaced by egoistic interests and that has brought us to where we have found ourselves today. We all do not care about the safety of others as long as we are safe and whatever happens to another is none of our business. This neglect has completely decayed our social system with almost nothing left due to our so called ‘westernized lifestyle’.

Certainly, if Hanifa’s murder was treated as a mere discussion on local radio stations, it would havevanished into thin air like all other incidences that were either manipulated on basis of psychological conditions of offenders or medical grounds – many murder cases have died forever alongside their victims because of lack of communal efforts.If a single outcry by the people can trigger the government to act swiftly, it means that we still have a voice and we can still change the future of Nigeria for the upcoming generation. Hence, it showcases that we can still adopt that style to uproar against the myriad of problems that we face daily as other challenges continue creep in by the day.

At this point in time, Nigerians must embrace the tenets of communality and understand that narcissism isn’t taking us anywhere. We should acknowledge our faults together, stop unnecessary blame games and enable collective efforts to ‘restore and nurture communality in our social institutions at all levels’. None of us possesses a magic wand to resurrect the life of Hanifa,but the little efforts we can make together are capable of establishing a new order in our society - the ‘desired change’ which is the peaceful society that we all yearn for.



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