The gruesome murder of 18-year-old Fatima Alhaji Bukar in her matrimonial home in Maiduguri has remained a mystery to people in the capital of Borno State.
Her father, who is a member of the Borno House of Assembly, Hon. Bukar Abatcha, said he had left everything to God but would not stop the police from carrying out their investigation.
However, her family members, neighbours and security agents, who have been following the event closely, say there is more to dig into the circumstances that led to Fatima’s killing.
How Fatima was killed
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, Fatima’s dead body was said to have been found by her husband in her matrimonial home located at Dikechiri, Bayan Gidan Dambe, area of Maiduguri.
Neighbours and security sources said the incident took place around 6:30pm on Tuesday when the husband was said to have left the compound for a nearby mosque for prayers.
“When he returned, he found the lifeless body of Amma Buwa, a name she was popularly called, in the house,” one of her family members said.
Confused by the situation, the husband was said to have taken the corpse to the police station, reporting that he found her dead inside the house with her hand and legs tied behind her back, while her two-year-old child was crying beside her.
The Gwange Police Division evacuated the corps to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
However, the testimony of the husband was cut short when the state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, ordered an autopsy and asked the police to conduct a discreet investigation.
Family members doubt husband’s account
One of her uncles, Shettima Mohammed, who adopted her after the death of his sister – Fatima’s mother – said he would not accept the husband’s account unless the police proved him wrong.
“Unfortunately, we lost her mother some years ago, and she was the only one left by the mother, and today we lost her too, leaving us with only one child. As Muslims, we consider it the will of God; we have to accept it.
“Fatima is a very small girl; she was 17 years old when she got married. She’s a quiet, very patient, and soft-hearted girl who can’t hurt even a fly. Why should this happen to her?” he asked.
Shettima said, when the story of her death was reported to him, he started shivering and couldn’t stand on his feet. “I was with my friends when my younger sister called to tell me what happened to Amma Buwa.
“I started crying, and one of my friends drove me to the family house; everybody was in tears. In the morning, I went to UMTH, and the body was given to us after a series of tests and examinations, and we buried her by 4pm.
“Whoever did that to her is not human. She was strangled, and an iron pestle was used to hit her head. She was bleeding up to the time we laid her to rest, and her head was damaged. Whoever did that was trying to cover up something,” he said.
Asked if she had any known enemy that could attack her, he said, “Ask any member of our family; she’s too good to have an enemy that could hurt her like this.
“But Fatima has been reporting the husband to her father, saying he was having extramarital affairs in the house, but the father always asked her to return home and pray for him to repent.
“On the day the incident happened, she returned from school—Ramat Polytechnic—and called the father, pleading with him to allow her to come home to talk to him, and he agreed.
“Instead, the husband called the father and told him that Amma Buwa was dead. The father asked him what happened, but he told him that he would meet him at home,” he said.
One of her relatives, who simply gave her name as Salma, said, “It’s hard to talk about; it makes me really sad thinking about the incident.
“I mean, what could she have done to someone to take her life away and leave this innocent child? I believed the child must have witnessed how life was sniffed out of her and was left to suck the deceased’s breast. He was brought to us crying and covered with blood,” he said.
One of their neighbours, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the husband lived an isolated life in the area and prevented the deceased from relating with the neighbours.
“He doesn’t relate to people; he doesn’t even allow almajirai near his house,” he said.
Police detain husband, friend as prime suspects
While many are pointing fingers at her husband, some alleged that it may be her father’s political foes, while others advised that law enforcement agents should be allowed to carry out investigation.
Updating the public, the spokesman of the Borno State police command, ASP Sani Kamilu Mohammed, said the husband, Adamu Alhaji Ibrahim, 31, and one Bukar Wadiya, 39, were held as prime suspects.
The PPRO said on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the duo took the dead body of the deceased around 4pm to the police and sought emergency help.
“The husband stated that he is a staff member of UBA Bank and came back from work at about 1700hrs and found her lying in a pool of blood.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that before the incident, the couple had some domestic dispute over alleged extramarital affairs by the husband at their matrimonial home.
“The house where the incident happened, located at Dikechiri, Bayan Gidan Dambe area of Maiduguri, was secured, and during a search, the following exhibits were recovered.
“One short pestle, a bag of rope, a rug carpet stained with blood, a knife, and a Honda vehicle with Chassis No. ANR742256679821, Plate No. MAG230AP, and a mucus-stained pillow.
“There was no evidence of constructive breakage or entry into the house, and only the husband had the key to open the house from outside. The husband and one Bukar Wadiya were both arrested as prime suspects. Discreet investigation is ongoing for diligent prosecution,” the PPRO said.