When little Hanifa left for school on 2nd December 2021, she had no idea, not in her wildest imagination (if at all she had any), that the cruel world had crafted out an undesirable ending for her.
I couldn’t help but imagine, how that Thursday, she had set off to school, clad in her uniform, armed with a school bag and probably a lunch box, innocently oblivious of the world and its’ bustles, of omicron or even the fast approaching 2023 elections. How she had been just another pupil amongst her peers.
Until tragedy picked her, that baby must have known nothing about tragedy or pain or that fate could take one crazy twist and she would soon be trending on social media.
Not to mention her parents, her relatives, who must have wailed and cried and mourned and cursed the incessant state of insecurity in Nigeria, helplessly.
Social media have, for the past two days buzzed with the news that one Abdulmalik Mohammed, a private school teacher, from Kano, had conspired to kidnap five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar.
On December 2, the suspects, Abdulmalik Mohammed and Hashim Isyaku abducted Hanifa, and took her to a hideout, demanding a ransom of six million nairas from her relatives.
Abdulmalik Mohammed was Hanifa’s school teacher and having understood that the victim recognized them weeks after the abduction, the suspects had poisoned her to death, butchered her remains and buried it in a shallow grave in the school premises in Kano.
It was heart-wrenching to listen to Hanifa’s Father speak so beautifully about her. The most beautiful part was that he had so much to describe someone that lived for just 5-years. Hanifa was an only child.
One cannot help but query, what the 5-year-old baby had done, to incur this woebegone wrath upon her head. And if this unfortunate event was so destined to happen, could you, in your wildest bet, guess it would be her teacher that did this to her?.
Who really is a teacher? (or was?). To start with describing a teacher as a facilitator of education would only emphasise a cliché.
A teacher is a second parent who journeys with you through life. A teacher can be said to be an ‘assistant parent’
Before the school is a haven, a teacher is a guardian angel, protecting and shielding you from danger.
A teacher is someone whose voice echoes behind you long after he is gone, reminding you of all the virtues he had sacrificed his time and resources for.
A teacher is an incense whose strong, pleasant scent, stays with you to remind you of the goodness that had nurtured you in your prime.
How then did you do it, Mohammed?
Was it by a mere coincidence of fate that you orchestrated this gross injustice on a sinless child?
How did you watch her clamour for Abba and Mama, when darkness descends and it was their comfort she craved for?
How did you look past her inquisitive stares, challenging you to justify your acts?
How did you watch her consume that rat poison, painfully and convulsively picking at her insides, like a raging wildfire that nothing could tame?
How did you watch that baby dance to the savage tune of death? squelching her of life that had all but started?
How did you chop her like a butcher does meat?
How did you sleep the night you hid her under the earth?
And how could you not see it? That the same fate that had picked on Hanifa had also tricked you into thinking that the shallow ground you hid her would swallow her forever?
How did you watch unnurtured dreams die before your eyes?
How did you do it?
Rest on, Hanifa Abubakar. It is comforting to know that by His Grace, you are high up in heaven, smiling. And we can live with that.
Fingers crossed, we await justice to be served.