January 27, 2022

Hanifa Abubakar: When kids are entrusted in criminals’ care

Hanifa Abubakar

By Adesina Wahab

THE nation was jolted last week with the news of the murder of the kidnapped five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar by Abdulmalik Tanko, 37, the owner of the school where the innocent girl was enrolled by her parents for primary school education. Though he named his school Noble Kids Academy, there was nothing noble in Tanko’s criminal behaviour.

While the nation is contending with a number of challenges facing the education sector such as incessant attacks on schools, kidnapping of students, teachers and others, adding the situation whereby those entrusted with kids would now turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing, is too much to bear.

Speaking on the incident, the National President, National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said it was very unfortunate and touching.  

“The suspect is not only callous but has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by parents who entrusted their children in his care. Security agencies and the judiciary should do the needful and ensure that justice is done.

“Parents and teachers must be alive to their responsibilities. We have mandated PTA in each school to work with school management and come up with a plan that no child should be allowed out of the school premises without the accreditation or approval of their parents.  

“Government agencies responsible for the registration of schools should also do due diligence before allowing schools to start operating and unlicensed schools should be shut down. Those agencies should also be following up on those schools by regularly visiting them and knowing what is happening. They should not just abandon those schools after registering them,” he said. Danjuma also called for stringent screening of people setting up schools.  

Meanwhile, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, has said Tanko is not a member of the association.  

This is just as the association  called for  stringent screening of school workers by their employers to avoid engaging criminal elements in their schools.

The National President of NAPPS, Chief Yomi Otubela, stated this in a chat with Vanguard.  

While expressing sadness at the gruesome murder of the girl, Otubela said the National Executive Council of NAPPS would want justice to be done in the matter.  

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“The National Executive Council of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS,   is deeply saddened to hear the news of the gruesome killing of a five-year-old girl, Hanifa Abubakar allegedly perpetrated by her school teacher in a private school located in Tudunwada area of Kano State. We condemn this act in its entirety.

“To us, the news of incessant abductions and killings of school children has become worrisome. We, therefore, urge both the state and federal governments to put machinery in place to ensure the safety of school children in the country.”

“In the same manner, we implore the security operatives to carry out a proper investigation of this killing with a view to arresting other perpetrators connected to this dastardly act who may be at large.

“We encourage school owners to keep tabs on their employees, activities within their schools and run appropriate background checks on any new member of staff.

“We pray that the Almighty God will give the parents and other family members of this young girl the fortitude to bear this painful loss and comfort them at this critical period while urging speedy dispensation of justice regarding the killers of this young girl. We demand justice for Hanifa,” he said.

Recall that Tanko was arrested last Thursday for the abduction and murder of Hanifa after demanding N6 million random from her parents.

While being quizzed by the police, he reportedly said he committed the act because he was financially down and needed money to solve some issues including paying the rent for the structures he uses as school.  

The Kano State government, through the Commissioner for Education,  Muhammad Sunusi Kiru, has ordered the closure of the school.

Kiru who expressed sadness over the ugly incident, said apart from the closure of the school, the state government would commence investigation of unregistered private schools and teachers to check such criminal activities.

Vanguard News Nigeria