The courtroom was hushed, with everyone attentively listening to the judge’s words. The judge leaned forward and began writing, his pen scratching across the paper.

In the courtroom, tens of thousands of lawyers and court staff responsible for Sharia proceedings sat in their designated spots. The parents of the girl involved in the case were present as well. The atmosphere was devoid of compassion, and tension hung heavy in the air, evident on the faces of the majority of those present, particularly those affected, including the girl’s parents and her younger brother.

Sharia Usman Muhammad, the judge, slowly raised his head to address the person standing in the defendant’s spot. This individual was suspected of having taken another’s life, her hands possibly stained with blood. She wore a black dress and a black hijab, her eyes reddened from crying. She kept her head bowed, seemingly loathing herself. Even when the judge called her name, she didn’t lift her head, and her response was a barely audible hoarse whisper.

The judge persisted, asking, “Fatima Musa, did you kill Dr. Abubakar Saddik, better known as Doctor Khalifa?”

Fatima remained silent, and the judge repeated the question three times. The courtroom was filled with a profound silence, and everyone, including Fatima and the judge, listened intently for her response. But she kept her mouth sealed, as if she were incapable of speech, like a dam holding back the words within her.

Judge Muhammad Bamaina, growing impatient, said, “Fatima, the court accuses you of the crime of killing your husband, Dr. Khalifa, as you were found near his lifeless body. We need you to explain the entire situation to the court. You are not deaf; you can speak. If you committed this act, tell the court why and how. If you don’t wish to speak, then remain silent.”

Fatima finally raised her head and locked eyes with the people in the courtroom. She made eye contact with her mother, who stared at her from a distance. Fatima could see her mother’s tears and the despair in her eyes. Her mother shook her head, silently pleading with her. Fatima then turned her gaze to the judge, her legs trembling as if they were about to give way. That’s when they had to assist her in returning to her seat, a gun seeming to weigh her down.

Sharia Usman M. Baina adjourned the court until the following day, God willing.

The courtroom erupted with commotion as Fati’s parents and relatives expressed their distress. They filled the courtroom with their anguish, but no matter how they tried to assist her, the policemen swiftly escorted her away. It was as if her breath had been taken from her.

It was evening, around five o’clock, and the mother sat on her mat, her head bowed and knees bent, crying as if her life depended on it. Aunt Abu sat beside her, wiping her own tears with great intensity. 

Mr. Musa Yashigo entered, carrying a carbine, and saluted them from the doorway. He stood there, observing them for several minutes, aware of their suffering. His face displayed pity and sympathy. Aunt Abu wiped her tears and greeted him, “Sir, you’re back. Good evening.”

He raised his hand in acknowledgment but declined further greetings. He advised them not to cry in vain, as their tears wouldn’t change their circumstances. He urged them to understand the gravity of the situation and stop their excessive weeping.

Mr. Musa continued, “Ummi, how are you holding up since these events unfolded? I understand the difficulty of our situation. The only recourse we have is prayer.”

Ummi, still in distress, asked, “What about the father? Do you have any comforting words for him? Is there anything that can ease the pain in my heart, knowing what Fatima is accused of? It feels like I’ve lost my voice, and I don’t know how to comfort her.”

Mr. Musa looked at the door and replied, “Ummi, what can we do in this situation? We’re powerless. We’re aware of the severity of the allegations against Fatima. No matter what we say or do, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. What matters now is how long we can endure this blame.”

Despite their efforts, Fatima remained despondent, and the accusation of murder weighed heavily on her. The circumstances were dire, and the question of who could come to their aid remained unanswered.

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