Murja Suleiman Zubairu, the mother of the slain five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar, on Wednesday, broke down in tears while testifying in court in the ongoing case against Hanifa’s school proprietor, Abdulmalik Tanko.
She testified as the seventh prosecution witness on Wednesday.
Tanko is charged along with two others for allegedly kidnapping and murdering Hanifa.
The 38-year-old Murja narrated how the news of her daughter’s abduction reached her.
Murja said she took Hanifa to her Islamiyya school on December 4, 2021.
But at about around 5:30pm when the school closed, a daughter of one of their neighbours ran into their house to tell them that one man has taken away Hanifa in a tricycle and that Hanifa told them the man was her uncle (male teacher) when they tried to stop her from entering the tricycle.
“Among those we were searching for Hanifa with, there was one of her teachers and I asked her if there was any other uncle in the school apart from Abdulmalik because all the other teachers I know in the school are females.
“She told me there was a new male teacher in the school and when they called him, he said he does not even know any Hanifa because he was assigned to teach in the secondary session of the school.
“The female teacher also called Abdulmalik Tanko that night in my presence and put the phone on loudspeaker and told him that Hanifa mentioned that it was her uncle that took her into the tricycle before the tricycle zoomed off with her.
At that time, Abdulmalik said, ‘Subhanallahi’.
“On Monday in the morning, Abdulmalik came to my house
and immediately he entered, I started crying and immediately our eyes met, he started shedding tears and I had to even console him.
“When he was leaving he prayed that may God allow us to see her. So at that time, our suspicion left Abdulmalik because of how he acted,” she narrated.
She further narrated that she received text messages asking them for N6million ransom for the girl and the sender sent them evidence that Hanifa was in his custody.
“I opened my door around 8:30am and saw a polythene bag which contained the cardigan Hanifa wore the day she was kidnapped and her uniform badge and a black and white photograph of Hanifa and told Hanifa’s father on the need to take the person sending the text seriously. He then informed the police.
She said a text came in immediately she turned on her phone, stating: “We have brought evidence of your daughter being with us but your phone is switched off, if you lose the evidence, that’s on you.”
When the abductor later called and asked if they were satisfied with the evidence, Murja said she told him she didn’t see anything.
“Immediately after the call, I told my husband that I feel that Hanifa is dead.
“I told him that since I was born, I have never perceived the kind of stench from the cardigan but they told me it was an odor from a mosquito repellant.
“They then took the evidence to the DSS and police.
“My husband then told me that I should text the person and ask for voice evidence or make a live video of Hanifa. When I sent the text, he replied that he knew this was a police strategy as such he won’t do either.
“He later sent a text saying he will tell us where to find Hanifa’s hijab as the last evidence he will give us.
“He then directed us to Kwankwasiyya village that we should count 21 street lights and we will see a black nylon inside an uncompleted building which contained Hanifa’s hijab. The stench from the hijab was the same as the earlier evidence,” she narrated.
She also narrated how the proprietor asked them to take the ransom to the same location they saw Hanifa’s hijab and how he was later arrested when trying to pick the second tranche of the ransom money.
She said when she saw Tanko at the police station, she asked him what Hanifa did to him and what she did to him, and that Tanko begged for forgiveness saying “it was a money problem and he knew he will get the money from us.
“He later told me he was the one that brought the evidence to the door of our house.”
The emotional mother recalled that it was Hanifa that brought the school flier to them and asked to be enrolled in the school and that she initially refused her late daughter’s request, adding that from the first day they took the slain youngster to the school, she (Hanifa) had warmed up to her would-killer.
Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to April 12 for cross-examination of the witness.