Nigeria: CHRICED Seeks Justice for Hanifa Abubakar

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called on the federal, state, and local governments in Nigeria to take the necessary steps to identify and prevent threats to children’s rights.

The civil society organisation (CSO) made the call following the gruesome killing of five-year-old schoolgirl Hanifa Abubakar in Kano State, northwest Nigeria.

Hanifa was kidnapped by the proprietor of her school, Abdulmalik Mohammed Tanko, in December 2021 to demand a ransom of about N6million ($14,600).

According to the police, the 34-year-old Tanko later killed Hanifa after realising she had recognised him.

The police also said that Tanko led officers to the school, Noble Kids Comprehensive College, at Kwanar Dakata in Nassarawa local government area, where he had buried Hanifa’s body in a shallow grave.

‘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’, the Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said in a statement to Development Diaries.

‘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’.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his reaction to the killing of Hanifa, called on the relevant bodies to ensure justice is served.

The government of Kano State later ordered the closure of the school, according to a statement authorised by the state Commissioner of Education, Muhammad Kiru.

‘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’, Zikirullahi also said.

The organisation also urged states in Nigeria that have yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) to urgently adopt the law even as it questioned the implementation of the law in states that have adopted it.

Africa’s most populous nation adopted the CRA in 2003 in line with the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

However, seven of the country’s 36 states – Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Yobe, Kano and Zamfara – have yet to domesticate the law.

‘Even in states that have adopted the Act, implementation has been non-existent, resulting in numerous violations of children’s rights’, he added, calling for a ‘whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach’ to identifying and preventing threats to children’s rights.

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