By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio, Yenagoa
T he recent abduction of Ese Rita Oruru, a minor from Bayelsa State, is part of a much wider struggle parents, especially those trading have to contend with monitoring their under aged children from pedophiles masquerading as friends and customers.
Many are wondering why any decent man will choose to take away a minor of Ese Rita Oruru’s age from her parents’ base in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State to far away Kano to forcefully have her as wife without the consent of her parents. Ese, who turned 14 years last week, was allegedly kidnapped on August 12, 2015 and taken away from the shores of Bayelsa, her place of birth to Kano by one Yunusa Dahiru, aka Yellow, a commercial tricycle operator.
Prior to the Ese’s abduction saga, kidnapped victims were stealthily ferried through the maze of creeks in the predominantly riverine state and kept incommunicado in the thick foliage of the mangrove swamp with the intention of collecting ransom from their victim’s family. It was clear that the supposed Ese kidnapper, Yunusa did not escape with his victim through the tricky creeks but through the land.
How he managed to beat the security check at the Gloryland Bye Pass gateway to the East-West road and that of the Igbogene end of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road, has left many confounded.
The question in the mind of many include, could the girl have been under spell not to have raised alarm when they got to the security check to alert the operatives of the sinister motive of Yunusa? Or could she have eloped with Yunusa willingly? Ese said in Abuja Wednesday that she did not know what happened and that she just found herself in Kano.
But what happened before they got to Kano? Where did she meet Yinusa since he did not come to their shop on the day she was abducted? Did she willingly leave home in search of Yinusa or did she willingly left to answer Yinusa’s call anywhere in Bayelsa before the journey to Kano? What did Yinusa tell her before she agreed to follow him?
It was gathered that Yunusa was a regular caller at Ese mother’s food shop at Opolo and that the man was a friend to their family? When Ese got missing, her sister informed their mum that Yinusa had not been seen that day. Why would the family immediately suspect Yinusa among all the people that visit the shop?
Saturday Vanguard findings revealed that the shop which is located some distance away from the Orurus residence might have inadvertently brought the victim into the radar of Yinusa and a relationship developed without the parents knowledge. Yunusa, according to a source, was close to the girl’s mother and that the teenager had on several occasions attended to him at the shop. They were friends. But unknown to many, the man at the centre of the storm, had developed amorous interest in the minor and contrived plan to whisk her away to Kano far from the reach of her parents.
How the girl got to Kano is a mystery only Yinusa could explain. Ese was said to have left home on August 12, 2015 to see her class mate at Tombia in Yenagoa, who had an accident and never returned. However, when she failed to return home, the parents, upon enquiry from neighbours, were hinted by one Mohammed that their daughter had been taken to Kano by Yinusa aka ‘Yellow’ with an intention to convert her into Islam and marry her.
It was either the girl contrived the alibi of going to her friend’s place as opportunity to see Yinusa or that the latter abducted her while she was on her way to Tombia and forcibly took her away to Kano to actualise his plan to marry her after converting her to Islam. But Yinusa did not visit the shop on the day Ese was kidnapped. Ese left the house on her own volition and the next story was about her trip to Kano with Yinusa.
Some of the Orurus’ neighbour who spoke on condition of anonymity told Saturday Vanguard that though Ese is an easy going and obedient child, they could not explain if the two were actuallly meeting secretly before the abduction.
Attempt by Saturday Vanguard to get the comment of Yinusa’s colleagues in the Keke business on the phone incident proved abortive as they chose to keep sealed lips. But the father of Ese, Mr. Charles Oruru, said though he may not be the affluent type, he has been working hard to cater for his family and dismissed the claim making the round that his daughter might have eloped with the man due to hardship at home.
Oruru was convinced his daughter was under spell, wondering how any sane person would go into marriage without the consent of the parents. The relieved father said plans have been concluded to take the girl to Church for deliverance.
Patricia Oruru, the eldest among Ese’s siblings, who is in her twenties also dismissed claim that her younger sister might have run away from home with Yunusa due to maltreatment at home.
Her words: “Some persons have been insinuating that she might have left home because of maltreatment. This is not true. In our home, we all enjoy equal treatment regardless of age. Nobody maltreated Ese. There is also claim that our parents took money from them, which is a slap on our face. Our parents cannot do such a thing. They actually struggle to train me through school and till now our mother sells at Opolo. So they have been struggling to train all of us”.
On whether the sister was in any relationship, she emphatically said no. “I was very close to Ese, if there was anything like her being in a relationship she would have told me. She was just 13 when she was taken away and had nothing on her chest and could barely take care of herself let alone going into a relationship. No, she was not into any relationship.”
Encounter with Ese Oruru teacher and classmates
Mrs Arise Douye: I am the form teacher of JSS III, the class Ese was before she was abducted. Ese was a brilliant student, I got to know about her brilliance when I compiled their results. “When she was abducted, initially, I did not know because during the junior WAEC, we were expecting to see her, but she did not write and we started asking questions amongst ourselves.
“But nobody seemed to know anything about her. I didn’t know her parents and there was nowhere to contact her parents, not until three weeks ago the father came to the school to get her data, and introduced himself as Ese’s father and said that she has been abducted and the police asked him to bring evidence of the girl.
‘I now checked my register and saw her name there. It was then at the principal office that we saw the day of her admission and age. It was then we discover that she was born on the 22nd of February, 2002.
She is humble
“She is a very humble girl; her case never come to the staff room unlike some students. She had never been flogged and I never raised a cane to flog her since I knew her and to the best of my knowledge no teacher has flogged her. We have some good students that know why they are here. They are always in class to learn, the same as Ese and her friends, they were always reading their books when the teacher was not in class.
“We know the students because we teach them and compile their results. She is this jovial type, she didn’t fight or quarrel. I am not saying this because of what has happened. I know her well. If she were to be a rough child I will say it and the society will not hold me responsible. But I am saying this because I know Ese.
“We really felt for the father and we prayed for him because that was all we could do. We also asked him to pray because prayer is the only key to solutions and advised him to be prayerful.
Parents should be vigilant
This is an eye opener, parents should be watchful over their children because if you interact with your children, you will know what they are passing through. Parents should know what their children are capable of doing and what they are not capable of doing.
Through daily interaction, you will know the pains your children are passing through. And as parents, you should know where your child goes to and the friends and company they keep. I am not perfect but as a teacher and mother I always tell my children to choose their friends and not allow friends to choose for them. When you don’t have time for your children you expose them to societal influence. Know what your children are doing every given time if possible.”
Hattarh Ozikime-Friend and classmate
I have known Ese for four years now, we became close friends because I wanted to learn mathematics from her and she wanted to learn science subjects from me. I was able to meet her mother, her brother and sisters and even knew her house and mother’s shop. I felt sad when we heard the news of her abduction. I could not believe it. It was really difficult because I didn’t think such a thing could happen to Ese. It’s a big relief for me and all our friends now. We are waiting to receive her back at school and become best friends as usual.