True to the information released by Premium Times, concerning the homecoming of Ese Oruru, the teenage girl who was kidnapped from her home in Bayelsa and taken to Kano for a forced marriage to one Yunusa Yellow, about eight months ago, it has been confirmed has left Kano and is presently on her way to the Police Headquarters in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria where she will be re-united with her parents.
Rabilu Ringim, the spokesperson for the Zone 1 Police Command, told a reporter from Premium Times who paid a visit to his office, that a team of police men made up of an Assistant Commissioner of Police and other top ranking officers who were transporting Miss Ese to Abuja, under strong security, left Kano by road at 6 am today, 1st March.
According to Mr. Ringim:
“They are on their way already, and the parents are expected in Abuja today where they would be reunited. She is being taken to Abuja based on the express instruction of the IG.”
The police spokesman said Miss Ese Oruru was made to undergo thorough medical check late Monday night to enable her to begin her journey back home early on Tuesday morning.
Mr. Ringim who later told another reporter that the girl actually claimed she was 17-years old in various conversations with the police also claimed she is afraid for her life if she is made to go back to her family in Bayelsa State.
Shuaibu Gambo, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of the Zone, however gave her an assurance that no one would inflict any harm on her.
In the recording, of a conversation between Ese Oruru and an unidentified police interrogator, the young girl was heard saying she did not want to return to her home in Bayelsa but unfortunately for her, many legal practitioners and human rights activists said her words are not to be considered due to the fact that she is still a minor and based on that, they advocated for her immediate return to her parents.
One of them, Charles Musa, a human rights lawyer based in Abuja said:
“The authorities should ignore whatever she has said and return her to her parents. Legally, she cannot take a decision like that. She can only speak through her guardian. She definitely cannot say she is not going back. She is a child under the law. She has no say in the matter,”
In the same vein, one of the conveners of Bring Back Our Girls group, Aisha Yesufu, said:
“As a mother, I will say at 13 years of age, I don’t think she has the capacity to make those informed decisions whether to convert or not to convert and to run away from her family. In the first place what permission did he (the abductor) have to take her all the way from Bayelsa to Kano State without the parents’ consent. That is very, very worrisome.
“As a child, I don’t think it was right for anybody to take her home and say she has been converted. That is coercion. She was coerced into it. She is a little girl that does not know much. She should have been returned immediately to her family,” she added.
Jiti Ogunye, a Lagos-based lawyer further reiterated what his colleagues had said, stating that the abduction of Ese Oruru was a breach of the Criminal Code Act and consequently, Yunusa, the abductor should be taken to court in Bayelsa in order to answer to the criminal charges against him since the said act of criminality began from there.
“Section 361 of the Criminal. Code Act, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, and the analogous provision in the Criminal Code Law of Bayelsa State defines the offence of abduction, and provides that ‘any person who, with intent to marry or carnally know a female of any age, or to cause her to be married, or carnally known by any other person, takes her away, or detains her against her will, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years’
“And of course it can be imagined or assumed that the offence of rape would have been committed against the young girl . The punishment for rape under Sections 357 and 358 of the same criminal Code Act is life imprisonment.
“Also the Child Rights Act prohibits this abduction. It must be noted that the Act defines a child as any person under 18 years. Thus, the abductor and his accomplices are liable to be arrested and prosecuted in Bayelsa State. That is where the crime originated. And although it is being consummated in Kano State, the Bayelsa High Court has jurisdiction to try the offences.
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“This beast cannot escape into Kano State and seek sanctuary in that unfortunately permissible environment. The police, the Bayelsa State Attorney General, the IGP, the AGF must do their job by bringing this barbarian to justice.
“If they don’t, the parents must be assisted to bring an application for an order of mandamus against them to perform their public duty. The law must be utilized to the hilt to punish this crime. This is not another Chibok girls situation. And the moral compromise of the Emir of Kano should not deter the resolve to secure justice for the girl and her parents”, he added.
Listen to the interrogation of Ese Oruru below: