The recent tragic kidnap and murder of five-year-old Miss Hanifa Abubakar by her teacher, Abdulmalik Tanko, in Kano, elicited a number of knee-jerk reactions by people in high places which must be called to order.
Governor Umar Ganduje, while on a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, vowed to sign the death sentence on those accused of committing the crime “when” the courts convict them. Indeed, wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, even called for their “public execution”.
The Kano State Government also proceeded to suspend the licences of all private schools in the state.
It announced that a committee to recertify them would be set up. People in high government offices must learn to comport themselves in a manner that honours their exalted positions. In the frenzy of grief, the general populace can afford to pour out their emotions.
But leaders must hold themselves in check and refrain from any comment or conduct that could prejudice the course of justice.
We must not give the impression that we are pushing the judges handling such sensitive cases in a particular direction.
We must do our bit and allow the courts to do theirs. Leaders must not appear to be part of a lynch mob, no matter how emotive a situation is.
Secondly, the closure of all private schools in the wake of this murder is totally uncalled for. The Kano State Commissioner for Education, Mr Sanusi Kiru, said government was withdrawing their certificates “for revalidation”.In taking this decision, the KNSG committed two classical blunders.
They threw away the baby with the bathwater and came to close the stable door after the horse had escaped.
How does this crime connect with the operations of private schools? Are we not punishing private school operators and their students for other people’s crime?
If there was a need to recertify private schools, why did the state government wait until this tragedy before acting? Good governance means that governments are able to keep an eye on all the sectors they regulate and promptly act before things go wrong.
It is not when things have gone wrong that government begins to act like an overzealous angel. It only diverts the people’s attention from government’s negligence of its duties.
The KNSG and its officials should remain committed to ensuring that Hanifa Abubakar’s family gets accelerated justice.
They should stop making prejudicial statements. More importantly, the private schools must be reopened pronto while the recertification exercise continues.
It was government’s failure to provide good education to the people that led to the proliferation of private schools. They should be keenly monitored.
We cannot afford to increase the number of our out of school children, which already stands at 10.5 million.