The saddening story of 14-year-old Miss Ese Oruru who has just been returned to her family after being abducted for nearly seven months is another sickening reflection of the society we live in.
Ese was taken away by one Yunusa Dahiru from her home in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State to Kano in August 2015 while she was still 13 years old and without the knowledge of her parents. While in Kano she was forced into marriage, converted to Islam and her name changed to Aisha. Dahiru had claimed to traditional leaders in Kano that Ese willingly followed him to Kano.
For months, efforts by the young girl’s parents to get their child back from Yunusa and the Kano Hisbah Commission proved abortive. Even after the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had asked the Police to return her to her parents, no action was taken until media attention was drawn to it.
In an immorally escapist assertion, the police in Bayelsa to the chagrin of many Nigerians initially claimed that the case was more of elopement than abduction.
This sordid Ese saga is another demonstration of the gross failure of the government to uphold its responsibility to its citizens which appears to have become the norm these days.
The Police statement that this was “more of elopement” ignored the fact that Ese is still a minor under the law, and the Police had a duty to immediately swing into action to retrieve her, return her to her parents and bring Yunusa and all who conspired to hold her captive to book.
Rather than doing so, the Nigerian Police seemed afraid to act, thus giving the impression that some individuals and organisations are above the law.
We deplore the violation of the civil rights of Ese and her family by the Hisbah Commission in Kano and hold them accountable for the psychological and health consequences of their conspiracy to detain Ese, who is now confirmed to be heavily pregnant. Everyone found culpable in this matter must face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent to others.
Ese has been returned to her parents, but her psyche and status as an innocent young girl may have been altered for life.
It is lamentable that this riveting story of Ese is not unique. All around Nigeria innocent children, especially girls, are being snatched by criminals.
We call on the agencies of government, especially the Police, to wake up and act with dispatch in protecting the citizenry from hoodlums.
The Police must make good its pledge to discipline its errant officers and prosecute Yunusa and his cohorts without fear or favour.
That is the least justice for Ese Oruru.