By Nusaiba Ibrahim Na’abba
The recent court ruling in Kano was a relieving moment for the parents of young Hanifa, who one Abdulmalik Tanko and his miserable conspirators brutally murdered. The general public also welcomed the verdict. It encourages all to be hopeful that, once again, our legal system can be reliable. The feeling that justice was served is just so extraordinary.
Although, to her parents, this moment will refresh their pain as they step into another chapter of their life. Yet, the relaxed atmosphere discharging fairness after moments of terror enveloped by uncertainty is ecstatic. I see people from neighbouring states expressing satisfaction and endorsing the court proceedings that led to the sentencing of Hanifa’s murderers, Abdulmalik Tanko and his accomplice, to death.
Many of us are neither conversant with the legal system nor its proc. Still, from the onset, we have roared the eye for an eye maxim as the only punishment to cushion the enormous pain inflicted on the deceased’s parents. The unimaginable trauma surely deserves strong retribution, and that is what it gets, finally. It is a scar that will never fade away from their hearts, one they will live with forever.
The cruelty in our world is truly unimaginable and beyond one’s comprehension. We are indeed living through the worst of times. For the seven years of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s reign, Kano State has witnessed the interplay between politics and the legal system through vehement exchanges within the sphere of the people, democracy and the economy. The government has allegedly consolidated all powers to pursue its interests at the expense of the people, thereby depriving them of their freedoms in many ways.
In politics particularly, the opposition has been at the receiving end as almost every court case favours the ruling party. And there are countless court cases on alleged confiscation of plots of land by the government. Evident cases of Muhyi Magaji’s arrest lately and the prompt dethroning of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II are few out of the multitude of examples depicting the potency of Ganduje’s government in view of power consolidation. Clearly, there is a demonstration of the dominion of government on the legal system, unlike what we witnessed in the past administrations.
Thuggery and phone snatching have earned top spots on the chart of major problems challenging security settings in the state leading to killings of innocent lives and loss of properties. Allegations have been piling up over the manipulation of security personnel’s surrendering to the interests of the government while offenders move freely without fear of being apprehended. Thus, Kano has become increasingly vulnerable to more violence than it used to.
On the arrest of Abdulmalik Tanko and his conspirators, he admitted how they connived to kidnap and murder Hanifa after demanding ransom. Then, Governor Ganduje assured the outrageous public that he would not waste a minute in endorsing the death penalty punishment for Abdulmalik and his partners should they be found guilty. His statement eased tensions and brought succour to her parents, who were certain that the act would not bring back their beloved child.
Surprisingly, however, the governor’s prerogative of mercy this year was a shocker to the people of Kano. Governor Ganduje released prisoners who had been found guilty of murder and were awaiting death penalties! It’s definitely a digression from what is expected of him as the court ruling of Abdulmalik Tanko has not been executed yet. How inconsiderate can the government be to release murderers back to communities that are overly plagued by violence and killings? By extension, they could be back to kill more people because certainly, their communities wouldn’t be willing to embrace them.
After all, what do you think would become of criminals as such who have committed the worst of crimes? Releasing to the larger community, people who have committed crimes and are charged with the highest level of a criminal offence are threatening the peace and security in the state. Most of them have even admitted to killing more than one person. Yet, they end up roaming the streets and continuing their day-to-day activities. Meanwhile, several people have been arraigned and even convicted on charges lesser than murder.
Women and men have severally been imprisoned because they unknowingly get linked to offences they know nothing about or simply because a plaintiff is more powerful than they are. Especially, women have fallen victims due to crashed business interactions – monetary cases are quite prevalent in courts these days. The revelations, in the parting words of CP Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko, the outgoing Commissioner of police, leave me perplexed.
The Police Commissioner lamented why criminals are indiscriminately released on bail after they’ve been charged to court. For a person of his calibre to admit this tells one the uncertainty our future holds. He might not be too explicit about it, but he sure gave us a hint on what to expect if things keep going as they are. And these are not mere claims to be ignored.
Discussions and debates have always explicitly circled “murder for murder” against criminals found guilty of such an offence. Over the years, we’ve witnessed more murders within Kano and even on the outskirts. For some, though, psychological and mental ill health have been attributed to the accused. Others got released on bail based on the powers vested on judges with reasons within the scope of the law. Repeating that we are living in trying times can never be underscored.
It is time we seek to reinstate the ‘mantra’ of offering justice as it is to serve as deterrence. Our minds are so overwhelmed with killings and terror that we easily forget how hard violent activities hit us when they pass. Many victims are forced to leave judgments to the Lord of the worlds against their better choices – lest they are sure how impossible judgments can be in their favour.
The ongoing uncertainties make the fear of the upcoming general elections immeasurable. Unfortunately, we don’t have that might to counter much of what could be coming with it, as the 2019 general elections left us with huge losses of lives and properties. So while we prepare for that, we await Governor Ganduje, who is so submerged with politicking, to fulfil his promise.
Nusaiba Ibrahim Na’abba is a master’s student from the Department of Mass Communication, BUK. She is a freelance writer and researcher. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.