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Hanifa: I’ll sign death warrant of killer – Gov Ganduje

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has said he will not waste time to assent to the death warrant of Abdulmalik Tanko if it is…

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has said he will not waste time to assent to the death warrant of Abdulmalik Tanko if it is brought before him.

Tanko, the proprietor of Noble Kids Academy in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano, had confessed killing five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar, a pupil he abducted in December.

On Monday, the governor promised to abide by the constitutional provision to assent to the death sentence of Tanko if passed by the court.

He made the promise during a condolence visit alongside his Deputy, Dr Nasuru Yusuf Gawuna, Majority Leader, State House of Assembly, Labaran Abdul Madari and other top government functionaries, to the family residence of the deceased in Dakata/Kawaji, Monday.

According to a statement by Abba Anwar, his Chief Press Secretary, the governor said “Our constitution provides that when a death sentence is passed, it is the constitutional power of the governor to assent the execution of the culprit. I assure you all that, I will not waste even one second.”

Widespread outrage has continued to trail the killing of five-year-old Hanifa with the First Lady Aisha Buhari joining the call for the public execution of Abdulmalik, the self-confessed killer and the proprietor of the school in Kawaji.

Since Thursday when the killing of the young Hanifa was first reported, there has been public outcry over the killing, with #JusticeForHanifa trending on social media for days.

The victim was killed by her abductors who had demanded a N6million ransom.

 Following the arrest and public parade of the suspect, wherein he confessed to having killed the victim with a N100 rat poison for fear of being identified as the one behind the kidnapping, a Kano-based cleric, Malam Abdallah Gadon Kaya, in a now-viral video, had asked that Tanko be killed the same way he killed Hanifa.

He said the proprietor should be executed publicly, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje can get this done.

“His (Tanko’s) life is not more than this girl’s life, the way he took her life, his life should be taken also and let it be done publicly so that another person wouldn’t repeat such.”

On Sunday, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari reposted the video on her Instagram page, expressing support for the cleric’s call wherein she wrote “We are behind Mallam’s stance.”

 Several Nigerians have also joined the calls for the need to reintroduce public execution of condemned prisoners to serve as deterrence to others especially in view of the spate of killings being carried out by several non-state actors like bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists.

No law prevents public execution – SAN

Giving a legal perspective to the calls, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olalekan Ojo said there is nothing under the law of Nigeria that prevents the governor from ordering the execution of the kidnapper to be done publicly to serve as deterrence but that must be after all the legal options available have been exhausted.

“All that the judgement will say is that ‘you are hereby condemned to death by hanging until you are dead. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.’ So, the judgement will not say the hanging must be done in a secret place or in a public place. So, there is nothing that prevents the governor from ordering that the execution be done publicly. No law prevents that,” he said.

 Ojo observed that the law in Nigeria as far as capital offence is concerned is capital punishment (death by hanging), adding that the only thing that may be new in the execution of the judgment would be the addition of public execution.

 The learned silk however scolded Nigerian governors for being too timid, mostly for political correctness, in not signing the requisite execution warrants, adding that this has continued to increase the number of condemned inmates in the country’s over-populated correctional facilities.

 Also speaking, a Kano-based lawyer and civil society activist, Barrister Nura Ahmad Muhammad said the Kano State Anti-Kidnapping law states that anyone that kidnaps someone and the victim dies in the process, the punishment for the kidnapper is the death penalty.

 “The law is clear on this matter and the call (for the public execution of Hanifa’s kidnapper) is alright and this is justice,” he added.

 However, Barrister Ali Jamilu said the government should not be swayed by the public outcry to commit an act that could amount to lawlessness but should allow the court to decide the matter without interference, saying there is no provision for public execution of a convict under the law.

 He said the public executions of convicts that were witnessed under the military regime were because the constitution was suspended.

 He also called on the police to ensure they conduct proper investigation and prosecution of the case so as not to give any room to be exploited, which may later see the suspect(s) go unpunished.

Court remands suspects in custody

In the meantime, the Kano State government has taken the three suspects in the case before a magistrate Court number 12 sitting in Gidan Murtala.

 The First Information Report read to the suspects in the court said: “that Abdulmalik Tanko, 34, conspired with one Hashim Isyaku, 37, and Fatima Jibrin, 26, to kidnap, kill Hanifa Abubakar with rat poison and buried her remains in a shallow grave located at one of his school at Tudun Murtala Kwanar Yan Ghana area; Northwest Preparatory school.

 “The suspect later demanded a ransom payment of 6 million Naira, which resulted in his arrest by the Department of Security Service (DSS) and then later the grave was found by the combined team of the DSS and the police.”

 The prosecution led by the Attorney general, Musa Abdullahi Lawan, asked the court for seven days to prepare a charge against the accused persons and proceed with the matter but urged the court to remand the accused persons in a correctional centre.

 Granting the application by the prosecution, the Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Jibrin adjourned the matter to February 2. 

Youths set suspects school ablaze

In a related development, Noble Kids Academy in Kawaji, Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State, belonging to the main suspect has been set ablaze.

The Kano State government had shut down the school indefinitely and directed parents to enroll their children in other schools.

 However, in the wee hours of Monday, aggrieved youths stormed the school and set it on fire.

 In the interview he granted when he was paraded at the headquarters of the Kano Police Command, Tanko had said he rented the building where he used for the school.

 He had said there were two branches of the school and that he buried her in one branch.

 Police spokesperson in Kano, SP Abdullahi Kiyawa, said no arrest had been made in connection with the arson attack on the school,

 He said there was no casualty in the incident, but parts of the school’s building were razed.

Kano revokes licences of all private schools

Meanwhile, the government of Kano State has revoked operating licences of all private schools in the state.

The government took the action amid the outrage over the killing of the five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar by Abdulmalik Tanko, proprietor of Noble Kids Academy, Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.

The deceased child, who attended the school, was kidnapped and subsequently killed by her school proprietor.

Tanko had confessed to killing her with a rat poison he bought for N100.

Speaking to journalist on Monday, the state Commissioner for Education, Sunusi Sa’id Kiru, said the revoked licences would be reviewed and revalidated after certification.

“I want to use this opportunity to inform everyone that hence, the government has decided to revoke all certificates of private schools in the state.

“We are all aware of the ongoing case of Hanifa; how she was gruesomely murdered by a suspect called Abdulmalik Tanko who is the proprietor of Noble Kids Academy; in view of the sad incident, especially regarding how she was murdered in the private school, the state government has decided to withdraw the certificate of all private schools for revalidation.

 “The ministry of education will set criteria for their recertification. A panel has been set up comprising of the Ministry of Justice, Department of State Services (DSS), Civil Defence and other security agencies to look into the revalidation of all private schools in Kano State.”