Hanifa: Group demands action on child rights

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called for “a whole-of-government, whole-of-society” approach to identifying and preventing threats to children’s rights following the kidnap and murder of Hanifa Abubakar, a five year old school girl in Kano state.

Its Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, in a statement maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on economies and disrupting people’s lives, stressing that Gender Based Violence (GBV) and attacks on vulnerable groups such as women and children have increased.

The statement noted that it is critical that duty bearers at all levels of government, including the federal, state, and local governments, take the necessary steps to save lives.

It added that Section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that all persons residing in the country have a right to life and that no one shall be intentionally deprived of his life unless he is convicted of a criminal offense.

According to the statement, “it is clear that Hanifa’s premeditated murder, as well as the unlawful killings of numerous other citizens throughout the country, constitute an assault on the Constitution, which the federal, state, and local governments swore to protect.

“The innocent little girl lost her life after being abducted and later murdered by Abdulmalik Tanko, the proprietor of her school. 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.

“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.”

The statement condemned the heinous act saying, “justice in this case must be swift. Additionally, the victim’s family must receive all necessary psychosocial support in order to cope with the horrors associated with such a premeditated murder of their child.

“While praying to Allah for eternal rest for the soul of the murdered girl, it is also appropriate to use this tragic occasion to reflect on the country’s appalling state of child rights.

“This reality is evident in the fact that only 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted the Child’s Right Act (2003), which is the law that guarantees the rights of all children in the country. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 12 states have failed to adopt the Act, including Kano State, where Hanifa was murdered.”