Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa and the Unity Project Nigeria have, this weekend, jointly condemned the gruesome murder of Hanifa, a five-year-old pupil who was abducted and eventually murdered by the proprietor of the primary school she attended in Kano.
Describing the incident as a “harrowing tragedy,” the NGOs demanded that the accused, and others who abetted him, be made to answer for the “heinous crime” which callously terminated the life of an innocent and promising child placed in his care for academic development.
The groups, in a statement jointly signed by the Executive Director, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa, Mr. John Mayaki and National Chairman, the Unity Project Nigeria, Jennifer Serrano respectively said: “It is most unfortunate that Nigerians are once again made to experience the painful grief of the loss of another child in an environment where children ought to receive the most protection and be guaranteed safe expression.
“From all accounts, it appears that the accused Proprietor, Mr. Tanko, is a remorseless murderer who must be made to answer for the heinous crime of brutally terminating the life of an innocent and promising child.
“The death of Hanifa is one too many. Our children, being the most vulnerable in society, rely on our responsible actions as adults for their protection and safe development. A situation where schools, an environment that should ordinarily serve the purpose of intellectually stimulating pupils, become a death scene and hunting ground for predators is certainly unsustainable and calls for urgent actions.
“The government across all levels must immediately embark on a country-wide assessment of schools to ensure that they remain conducive and safe for learning. Furthermore, they must intensify efforts to curb the spate of insecurity which, perversely, has encouraged opportunistic crimes such as local kidnapping for ransom that endangers the most vulnerable in the society.
“The measure of any society lies in how it cares for the weak and protects the vulnerable. If our children cannot learn peacefully in school, without safeguards in place to protect them against the criminal tendencies of perverse reprobates like Mr. Tanko, then all hope is truly lost.
“We must secure justice for Hanifa and lay down a marker that no parent or family will be thrown into such painful sorrow or made to question the decision of enrolling their ward in a school to obtain an education and attain skills necessary for social progress and self-development.
“The groups also condoled with the family of the late Hanifa, offering prayers that the Lord should grant them strength and fortitude in “what is truly a dark, troubling, and traumatising episode.”