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Little Hannifa Abubakar and Demise of National Conscience

By Abuchi Obiora

I want to start this discourse by confessing that my emotions failed me several times during the days I have to articulate and write out this work. Never before have I felt as bad as I did after reading the media report of how a Nigerian child, one of our pretty daughters, became a victim of the failure of a society whose moral fabric has been torn into shreds by the beastly behaviour of a conscienceless generation of human vipers and demonic dregs of the worst order whose existence could only have derived from the bottomless pit of hell.

Before I continue this work, I must plead God to accept into paradise, the innocent young soul of Hannifa Abubakar whose death in the hands of people she innocently trusted, people she called ‘uncles’, who were paid to take care of her, implicates all of us as accomplices in a system that has drifted from what a human community should be, to becoming the brutish environment of the beasts.  As I pray for the repose of the soul of little Hannifa, I also ask that God grants the parents the fortitude to bear the loss of their only daughter and forgive us all “for we know not what we do”.

The news filtered out from Jakarta community of Nasara local government area in Kano state that Mr. Abdulmalik Tanko, the proprietor of Noble Kids Nursery and Primary School, in arrangement with his accomplice, Hashim Isyaku, kidnapped one of the pupils of his school, 5 years old Hannifa Abubakar and demanded a ransom of N6m from her parents. They took her away with a tricycle (Keke Napep) and hid her, waiting for the ransom.

They collected part of the ransom, but not before being recognized by the obviously smart girl who must have called Mr. Tanko ‘Uncle’. That simple gesture of recognition brought death to the little innocent girl who could not have known how wicked the world she had only spent five years in, could be.

Her ‘uncle’ Mr. Tanko picked up a discarded packet of ‘Bobo’ yoghurt beverage drink and poured in some quantity of tea in it, and laced it with rat poison which he had bought with N100 out of part of the ransom he had just collected. Obviously, he was afraid that the smart innocent girl will spill the beans by revealing his identity. The girl died!

They buried her in a shallow grave within the vicinity of one of the school branches. The plan to kidnap little Hannifa was mooted by one Fatima in November 2021 and eventually hatched on December 4th 2021 when the little girl got missing.

Not long ago, the news broke out that a twelve year old boy, Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College, Lekki Lagos State, was bullied to death by some ‘senior boys’ in the school. The bully boys, being members of privileged wealthy families are suspected to be shielded from the law. A legal tangle has started in that matter to obtain justice both for the deceased and his parents. It was reported in the mass media that a notable lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Femi Falana has asked the court to compel the coroner to release the Certified True Copies (CTC) of the statements made by the suspected students and staff of the college in the wake of the police investigation, together with other relevant documents pertaining to the case. These documents, the SAN says, will assist his case in the law court.

This particular report was carried by Information Guide Nigeria, an Online Media House. Earlier in the same week that the Hannifa story broke, news trended online with a despicable video of a young man somewhere in Imo State of Nigeria, who dug a grave in his bedroom where he intended to bury his girlfriend, obviously for rituals. He had almost succeeded, having sliced the girl’s throat, ready to push her inside the grave.  To the glory of God, nemesis caught up with him as the girl overpowered him, rushed out of the house and alerted the neighbours who swooped on and apprehended the ritualist.

Not long ago, too, in the western part of the country, precisely in Osun state, a Master’s degree student of a university who flew into the city from Abuja to write his exams and checked into a hotel was declared missing and later found buried in a shallow grave by people suspected to be workers, and a son of the owner of the hotel where he checked into.  The owner of the hotel, a notable personality, an educationist and a business mogul in the state is suspected as being privy to either the murder of the man or concealment of the murder of the man who had checked into his hotel.

All these gruesome murders and more not mentioned here because of lack of space, indicts the conscience of Nigeria as a country of abnormal human beings populated by psychopaths.  For one thing, the death of Hannifa Abubakar, an angel not of the morning, but of the evening of Nigeria, a country at the precipice of moral latitude and verge of collapse, is one death too many.  That death of our little angel symbolizes the quick and steep descent of a once hopeful giant of Africa from the lofty moral heights expected of a west African sub-regional head and the only hopeful challenger of Europe and America on the much abhorred and skewed present world economic order, to the abysmal low and level of a pauperized imitator and clownish representative of all that it had aspired to be.

Let us explore the meanings of the two words ‘demise’ and conscience before we hazard possible solutions to the present moral decadence in Nigeria. In legal parlance, the word ‘demise’ means the conveyance or summary transfer of an object from one person (the benefactor) to another person (the beneficiary). This is not what I mean here. As applied here in this discourse, the word ‘demise’ means ‘death’ in a negative way, – a summary and final point that symbolizes the end of a better condition to an entrance into a not-so-good (bad!) condition, nay oblivion.  Of course, we all know that ‘conscience’ is the moral sense of right and wrong, mainly and especially as it portrays an individual or group behaviour.

Why has Nigerian national conscience, the Nigerian moral sense of right and wrong nosedived, almost flattened?  Nigerians were much sensitized on national conscience during the life and times of one of the greatest Nigerians that has ever lived. That symbolic conscience of Nigeria was Gani Fawehinmi. Chief Abdul-Ganiyu “Gani” Oyesola Fawehinmi, GCON, SAN, (April 22, 1938 September 5 2009), was a Nigerian patriot and statesman. He was an author of many law books and Chief Executive Officer/Publisher of a topmost law journal in Nigeria.

A philanthropist, social critic, Human and Civil Rights lawyer who championed the cause of the masses in Nigeria, Chief Gani Fawehinmi was the most endeared Nigerian ever to the Nigerian masses, being the nemesis of corrupt and inept governments in the country during his lifetime. He was a politician and founder of the National Conscience Party (NCP) and also held a chieftaincy title in his lifetime being the Lamofin of Ondo.

Simply known and called ‘Gani’ by Nigerians, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, one of the greatest Nigerian statesmen and patriots, sensitized Nigerians on the need to organize the society and live in accordance with the pristine precepts of natural justice and the rule of law encapsulated in humane conducts championed and driven by the good conscience of man.

In his lifetime, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, most beloved by Nigerians, championed the good cause of molding the group conscience of Nigerians to align with the virtues captured in the proclamation of the United Nations on Human and Civil Rights. For this reason, for as long as Nigeria persists as a country, the memory of the uncompromising and incorrigible Chief  Abdul-Ganiyu “Gani” Oyesola Fawehinmi, GCON, SAN, will be etched in gold, stamped on the sands of time, and adorn the Nigerian Hall of Fame as a symbol of the conscience of Nigeria, whenever the Hall of Fame is enacted.  Were he still to be living today, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will quake and be aghast at the demise of the national conscience which he re-invented and worked very hard to uphold.

The demise of individual and national conscience in Nigeria has made it unsafe and risky in the present day Nigeria to let people, including very close family members, into one’s secrets especially as those secrets may pertain to money or other personal resources, for fear of being a victim of conspiracy and assassination in the hands of people who will be quick in appropriating one’s monetary and other resources as soon as one falls dead.

In his treatise delivered on Saturday April 24th, 2021 to an academic audience and in reference to the collapse of the national moral fabric and the inability of the people and government to address it, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate said, “The already over-stretched sinews of moral restraint have been snapped off the casing of nation being, and nothing is left but the collective wails of impotence”.

The irony in the demise of individual and group conscience in Nigeria is that the Nigerian society is getting more bullish and brutish in spite of the fact that more Nigerians are getting more religious every day, attending the ever increasing worship places of the Churches and the Mosques. This is as a result of doctrinal inadequacies of the religions wherefore they do not synchronize with the natural laws and principles of the universe. The name God, which is actually the religious conception and understanding of divinity is the simplest interpretation of this complex apex of all material, non-material, and immaterial natures of life by the religions. This very simple understanding has therefore set the stage for a general misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the true nature of God by the adherents of the religions.

Unless one has deep knowledge of the specific spiritual backgrounds of the founders of the religions, one is bound to be misled by this myopic view of God. Mislead by modern religious teachers, adherents of the religions are not sensitive enough to physical laws of the universe which showcase the ordinances of God.  Primary to obedience to the laws of God is sensitivity to the ordinances of God established in the physical laws of the universe. As a matter of fact, most modern religious teachers uncannily preach against the fixed ordinances of God, supplanting them with faith.

This brings us to the question: Have the religions failed us? My quick and immediate answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes!’ On very close examination, one discovers that it is not actually the desire of man to be good and righteous, or to be in tune with God that has ensured the survival of the religions. Because the very nature of man is dross, carnal, material and earthly, man is basically selfish, considering his interests first, before ruminating on what is good.

  The following four factors have ensured the survival of the major religions on earth over the millennia since man became religious in the worship of what men refer to as God. These four factors are:

  1. Fear of the unknown, the next moment, generally concerning personal and selfish welfare.
  2. Fear of death.
  3. The need to sustain the business of people who have discovered gold mines in the religions.
  4. The need to effect smooth and easy political administration of people through such institutions as the organized church, religious institutions, communities, government etc.  The organized church, religious institutions, communities, governments, etc. use religions to serve the purpose of emotional crutches for their members/subjects, who are expected to lean and leap perpetually and unquestioningly on the weak and illusory, programmed crutches  of  the teachings of the religions that are carefully prepared to usurp their reasoning minds.  

Left alone in his carnal senses without props, the last thing that man may fear is God – that somewhat abstract phenomenon that he cannot empirically experience.  My understanding is that people respect and fear what hurts them. Al Capon, the Capo dei Capi of the defunct notorious Chicago underground Mafia group once said that fear is the highest form of respect.

This implies that he who does not fear you (because you inflict no injury on him if he messes up with you) cannot actually respect you when the chips are down. God rarely hurts people, so people take advantage of it to disobey God, hide and commit heinous crimes against other people.  In truth, people must be made, in all human communities, including Nigeria, to fear God through the fear of the rule of law, the fear of the consequences of disobeying the law.  The law must be used as props for people to obey God and the laws of God, which by the way, are the forerunners to the laws of man. (Courtesy: The Social theory of the Ideal State, propounded by me). 

The God which most human beings recognize and fear because it will penalize them when they make mistakes is the laws of the land. For this reason, the rule of law must be strengthened. All religious and other influences that negatively affect the application of the rule of law must be removed.

Beginning from the Sultan of Sokoto who is the Supreme Head of the Nigerian Muslim Community to the Sheiks unto the Mullahs and the Imams, the Cardinals, the Bishops, the General Overseas/Superintendents and the Pastors, the government should take away all special attention from the religions.  In this wise, the C.A.M.A law would not be necessary as there are already enough laws, rules and regulations in our statutes to guide the operations of the Churches and Mosques.

Finally, justice and equity must be enthroned and sustained in the system so that people who commits crime as a form of revolt and abhorrence for the inequity in the society, having lost confidence in the system, will begin to redevelop faith and trust in the system.

This last reason, by the way, is the underlying factor for the get-rich-quick syndrome in the Nigerian society. It is also the major reason why all manners of crime and sadism which contribute to the demise of national conscience as shown in the gruesome murder of little Hannifa Abubakar, are multiplying.


For: Global Upfront Newspapers


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