Hanifa Abubakar

IT is quick justice for late little Miss Hanifa Abubakar as her killers, Abdulmalik Tanko and his accomplice, Hashimu Isyaku, have been handed the death sentence by a Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Usman Nababa.

In Nigeria, murder and other criminal cases drag on for years, which is why majority of the people have lost their trust and faith in our judicial system. 

But that of Hanafi has taken only seven months. Tanko, a school proprietor in Kano, had kidnapped Hanifa, murdered and buried her in a shallow grave on December 4, 2021.

The pathetic nature of the homicide ignited national outrage, with Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, joining other Nigerians demanding the death sentence for the killers. While we commend the judiciary in Kano for expediting action and bringing quick closure to this case, we still hope that the convicts will be allowed their right of appeal if they so desire. 

We also urge that when the appeals are exhausted, whatever is the final decision of the court should be expeditiously implemented to put this matter to bed.

The dividend of giving prompt justice to whom it is due cannot be downplayed. Injured citizens need to be reassured that the state and the law to which they give their civic allegiance, will fight for them. The state and the law are expected to protect the citizenry. But when this fails, the citizenry expects the state and the law to give them justice. If this also fails, then the deterrence factor also fails. People will resort to taking the law into their hands.

It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. Beyond sentencing, the faithful implementation of judgements is a factor determining whether justice has been delayed. 

We now have a situation whereby judges hand down death sentences, but political authorities who have the constitutional obligation to sign and implement the judgements,  display lack of courage.

They hide behind religious, moral and personal pretensions, forgetting that they swore an oath to defend the law and uphold the Constitution. The same politician who arms criminals to kill for him during elections can’t sign death sentences.

The death sentence is part of our laws. If we no longer want the death penalty, then let us join the other 75 countries which have abolished it partially or in full. 

What it means is when people kill, they will be sentenced to life at the expense of tax-paying, law-abiding citizens. But, as long as we still maintain the death penalty, it must be implemented. Forcing condemned people to spend years on the death row is torture. It is inhuman and condemnable. Implement the law!

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