Ese Oruru: End of another North-South schism, as 'Yellow' gets 26 years prison rap

By Editor on 22/05/2020

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With the 26-year jail term handed over to Yunusa Dahiru, by a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, over the abduction of Ese Oruru, a little girl from Bayelsa State, the controversial case that further exacerbated the North-South schism in Nigeria has finally come to an end the way it should – through the law.

The breaking of the news of the abduction of Oruru, on August 12, 2015 at her mother’s shop in the Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, had led to an almost crisis situation as it signposted the clash of both religious and traditional beliefs in the North-South divides, with gladiators standing up along the two sides well-kitted to defend their positions.

It was a case that tested the young government of President Muhammadu Buhari, just as it did the traditional Kano institution of then Emir Lamido Sanusi, who was also named as a key player in the entire saga.

The reluctance or even what appeared the powerlessness of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), then headed by Solomon Arase, the last Southerner to be in that position since Buhari’s administration, in arresting the situation, were all part of the conundrum that trailed the matter, as it took days before the little girl at the centre of it all, was eventually retrieved from her abductors.

Even when Yunusa, was eventually brought to trial, in Bayelsa State, against the claim by some elements that the “marriage” he contracted with Oruru, was valid, there were still controversies also, given the quality of his representation in court, which seemed to imply that he had a solid support from his home base.

This became more accentuated, when news broke that he was actually flown home in a private jet, when he eventually left the Okaka prison walls where he was detained while awaiting to perfect his bail, a privilege reserved for high-profile personalities.   

It was therefore a chapter with a loud message that was sent home, when Justice Jane Inyang of the Bayelsa High Court, sounded her gavel to sentence Dahiru to 26 years in prison on Thursday.

Ese, who was 13 years old at the time, was abducted by a man named Yunusa (alias Yellow) and taken to Kano, where she was allegedly raped, forcibly converted into Islam and married off without her parents’ consent.

On February 29, 2016, Ese was reportedly rescued by the Kano State Police and placed in the custody of the government. She was later revealed to be five months’ pregnant with her abductor’s child after being released.

Dahiru was arraigned on March 8, 2016 before the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, on charges of criminal abduction, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge of the minor.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge which was read to him in pidgin English but on March 21, the first trial judge, Aliya Nganjiwa, granted him bail in the sum of N3m with two sureties in like sum.

Inyang sentenced Dahiru to five years in prison on count two and seven years on each of counts three, four and five and that they are to run consecutively.

She stated that the failure of Dahiru’s defence team to produce one Abdullahi Zarafat was also “fatal to the defence.”

Counsel to the defendant, Kayode Olaosebikan, pleaded for the judge to temper justice with mercy and give liberal sentence to the accused.

Dahiru emerged from the court after the judgment with tears in his eyes.

Olaosebikan, in an interview with journalists, said that they were not comfortable with the aspect of ruling that the sentence should run consecutively.

He said, “Though I’m not comfortable with the part of the judgment that said the sentence should run consecutively, we had some challenges during the course of trial.

“There were six other witnesses we needed to have called in this matter, two of them are resident here (in Bayelsa), four of them in Kano, but none of them was available.”

Olaosebikan said that his client was at liberty to appeal the judgment, especially because part of it ruled that the sentence should run consecutively.

In his reaction, the prosecution counsel, Samuel Njoku, a Deputy Superintendent of Police from the Force Headquarters, expressed delight that justice had been served and described the judgment as “naked and simple justice that has been done today.”

A former Vice Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Bayelsa State, Deme Debra Pamosoo, who appeared as a private legal practitioner holding watching brief in the case, said the judgment would serve as deterrent to other pedophiles.

She said: “The judgment has sent a strong message to serve as deterrent to pedophiles of underaged children. The judiciary is fair in the judgment given.”

The father of the victim, Charles Oruru, said he was very happy that the five-year case had ended in their favour.

He said, “I’m very happy and grateful because I see that all my suffering is not in vain. This case will serve as deterrent to others who traffic people’s children. I thank God that truth has prevailed. I and my family are very happy.




Posted on May, 22 2020

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