The mother of six-year-old Khadija Ya’u, the rape victim who was killed and dumped in a Mosque in Sabon Layi, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna, on Monday, told Daily Trust that 30 minutes into the search for her missing daughter, her instinct told her that Khadija was dead.
Khadija, the last of four children of Malam Abdullahi Ya’u and Fatima Mohammed was found in a Mosque about 20 meters from her home almost three hours after she went missing on Friday.
The remains of the minor was later shrouded in a white garment in preparation for Islamic burial before information leaked by some women who performed her funeral rites that the minor had been brutally raped.
With the help of Civil Society Organisations who convinced the Village Head of Sabon Layi, Sarki Abdullahi Rabo Chiroma, Khadija’s father was persuaded to release his daughter who was then conveyed to Barau Dikko hospital for investigation.
A spate of sexual assaults
Before Khadija’s brutal rape, the Kaduna State government had two weeks ago said it recorded 485 sexual assault cases in the state between January and May.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko, about two weeks ago said the Ministry of Justice was currently handling 108 rape cases in court.
This is despite the existence of the 2018 Child Welfare and Protection Law in the state, which provides life imprisonment as punishment for convicted rapists.
Our correspondent who spoke with residents of Sabon Layi in Kurmin Mashi gathered that suspicions are rife that Khadija may have been raped and killed somewhere and later dumped in the Mosque, using the back door by a tiny alley.
Khadija’s older brother, Sani told our correspondent that the suspect must have used the fact that many people had left the community for Friday prayers and gained access to the mosque through the alley.
Daily Trust gathered before the unfortunate incident of Friday afternoon, Khadija had made henna designs on her legs and hands Friday morning and had wanted to accompany her doting elder brother, Sani, to work but was persuaded to remain at home.
As at Sunday afternoon, Khadija’s green flip-flop rested by the wall in her mother’s room and Fatima in sobs told our correspondent that Khadija never left the house without them.
According to her; “On Friday morning, Khadija asked her 14-year-old cousin whom I adopted when she was two years old to make henna for her.
“After the henna, I noticed it was about to rain so I took Khadija to the room.
“After the rain, I brought her out and washed the henna, she ate, played within the compound and around 12:30, she disappeared.
“I suspect she stepped out and someone either lured her or abducted her.”
Flip-flops and panic
Khadija’s 51 year-old mother said when children in the compound came into the house without Khadija and noticing her flip-flops and hijab in the room; she began to panic and ask of her daughter’s whereabouts.
“It was strange because her flip-flop was by the door, which meant she was bare feet.
“Even when she goes out to play, she doesn’t last more than a few minutes and would return to play within the compound.
“Khadija would not go anywhere unless with her older cousin and the moment we noticed her cousin was home, we knew something was wrong.
“Another thing is that she left wearing her blouse and skirt with a head scarf, but without her hijab.
“She never goes on errand without her hijab,” she said.
Our correspondent gathered that Khadija was a bright student as she was in the same Islamiyya class as her 14-year-old cousin and often tops her Nursery class at the LEA primary school, Kurmin Mashi.
“Even as we went about looking for her, I knew my daughter was not alive.
“The fact that her cousin was home without her scared me because if she had gone anywhere, they would have been together.
“As we searched for her I told those who accompanied me that my instinct had told me my daughter was dead and I began to pray to God to reveal her corpse to me and I am grateful that He did.
“My prayer now is for the Almighty to reveal the perpetrator of this crime because only God can give me justice,” she said.
Pushing for an autopsy
While narrating the incident and the allegation of a cover-up, the village head of Sabon Layi- Kurmin Mashi told Daily Trust that it was true that the parents of Khadija initially tried to bury their daughter without investigation but said after his intervention, the deceased’s father allowed her remains to be moved to the hospital.
“Before we knew she had been raped, the father of the deceased said even though she had been murdered, he lacked the resources to pursue the case and would rather turn to God for justice.
“He was scared of the process, transportation and the fact that he may be asked to part with money he may not have.
“He was also worried that he may be emotionally invested in the process only for law enforcement agents and the courts to later throw out the case,” he said.
However, Malam Ya’u Abdullahi, while speaking with our correspondent, said though no justice would bring back his daughter alive, he would want security agents to arrest the perpetrator.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said investigation into the matter was ongoing and that the Commissioner of Police, Umaru Muri, on Monday issued a directive to police officers to ensure that the culprits are arrested.
Jalige, however, said the police had visited the victim’s father four times, but he was not enthusiastic about the investigation.