30-year-old teacher, Abdulmalik Tanko, who confessed to killing a five-year-old pupil, Hanifa Abubakar, has pleaded not guilty to the four-count charges preferred against him by Kano State Government.
KanyiDaily had reported how Hanifa was allegedly abducted and killed by Tanko along with one Hashim Isyaku, 37, after they demanded N6 million ransom.
While answering questions on his involvement in the crime, Tanko said he contacted Isyaku, and one Fatima Musa, 26, to kidnap the girl from her home but they failed to carry out the abduction.
The teacher said that he personally kidnapped and killed the 5-year-old pupil with N100 poison when he found out that she had recognized him, and they buried her corpse in a shallow grave located at the private school premises.
The trio – Tanko, Isyaku, and Fatima – were arraigned before a Kano state high court on a five-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, attempt to kidnap, abetment, kidnapping, and concealing a dead body.
Abdulmalik Tanko Denies Killing Hanifa Abubakar
When the matter came up before the court presided over by Justice Usman Na’abba, on Monday, February 14, the defendants pleaded guilty to the first count charge bordering on conspiracy and denied the remaining four-count charges.
Although Tanko and Isyaku pleaded guilty to the first-count charge of criminal conspiracy, they pleaded not guilty to the other four counts. But Fatima pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Attorney-General of Kano and prosecutor, Musa Abdullahi-Lawan narrated to the court that sometime in November 2021, the defendants conspired and kidnapped the five-year-old Hanifa while she was returning from school.
Abdullahi-Lawan alleged that Tanko kidnapped and held Hanifa hostage in his house for days and killed her with poison.
He said, “In the process, the second defendant, Isyaku, buried her in a shallow grave in the premises of Northwest Preparatory School situated at Kwanar Yan Ghana, Tudun Murtala, Kano.
“On December 27, 2021, the third defendant, Musa, wrote a letter to the victim’s family, on behalf of Tanko, demanding the sum of N6 million as ransom.”
Abdullahi-Lawan also told the court that the prosecution will present four or more witnesses to prove their case on the next adjourned date.
According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened sections 97, 95 and 273,274(b) and 277 of the Penal Code Laws of Kano State 1991.
Mukhtar Labaran-Usman, defence counsel, made an application pursuant to Section 36(b) of the 1999 constitution, requesting all the necessary documents to enable him prepare for an accelerated hearing.
Usman Na’abba, the presiding judge, ordered the remand of the defendants in a correctional facility and adjourned the matter until March 2 and 3 for hearing.
KanyiDaily recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed the nation’s condolences to Hanifa’s family, and assured Nigerians that justice will be served.
Meanwhile, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje had vowed to sign the death warrant of Hanifa Abubakar’s suspected killer, Abdulmalik Tanko, if judgement is passed.