I have been very busy these days with my clinical activities, that’s why I couldn’t release a comprehensive write-up on the trending tragedy of Hanifa’s gruesome death. However, I have realised that, if this matter is allowed to go without closely scrutinizing and x-raying the event critically from the “medical perspective”, relevant stakeholders may not stand their ground to bring the culprits to face the wrath and resentment of the law.
Let me recount the incident for the reader to fully understand the message. Hanifa was a five (5) years old pupil, who was reportedly kidnapped by her teacher last December while on her way to Islamiyya School and afterwards killed by her captor. Her abductor had shamelessly demanded N6million ransom. Hmmm, abi them no know money no be lather? Finally, security officers were able to fish out and apprehend the perpetrators, and subsequently confirmed the murder of Hanifa and dismemberment of her body by her captors.
On the backdrop of the above incident, only God knows the trauma the parents of this innocent girl are going through at this moment. I got information from a genuine source that Hanifa’s mother had slapped the culprit out of anger before policemen; she was understandably disturbed, confused and mentally traumatised. This happening alone is sufficient to convince one that the Mother is in critical psychological disturbance as a result of the gravity of this heinous act. If care is not taken, her condition may deteriorate and lead to depression and subsequently psychosis.
Most of all, the mother is at risk of committing suicide. Yes, she is! This occurrence could ignite a series of events that could ultimately lead to her demise. It is worthy of note that the deceased is the only child in the family. At this point, it is crucial that her (Mrs Abubakar’s) relatives monitor her closely, and offer her much needed moral and psychological support. Please, it is also advisable to take away anything that could be used to harm oneself, be it a knife, chemicals or drugs. If possible, let her be with someone that would be able to console her and lift her spiritually. That would comfort her and make her leave things to Almighty God. Surely, she shall get justice on the day of resurrection. All these tips are part of the psychological therapy that she desperately needs at this critical point in time.
She could also develop a psychological condition called “Conversion disorder.” This condition is thought to be caused by the body’s reaction to a stressful physical or emotional event. Some research has identified potential neurlogical changes that may be related to symptoms of the disorder. With this disorder, she would require “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” and other medical interventions. Prevention is always better than cure. Please, let’s prevent her from plunging into these conditions.
The most important decision that will make her condition assuring is for the government to take the right decision at the right time. Let Justice be done to Hanifa and Hanifa’s family by executing the convicts. This singular action would make the parent averagely happy and comfortable.
Finally, I would like to stress that it is very important for her to see a Consultant Psychiatrist in any Hospital for further support. And I do hope this piece would reach the relevant people involved.
Dr Khalid Sunusi Kani is a Medical Doctor| Public Health Advocate| Public Affairs Analyst.