Ese Oruru: What Has Nigeria Done to Suffer All These?

Ese Rita Oruru
True happiness is fast becoming a mirage in Nigeria. The only time we experience 'happiness' is when we listen to our pastors or other religious leaders tickle our brains with motivational messages of long-suffering that led to greatness.  A vivid example in the bible for Christians is the case of the rise of Joseph to the helm of authority in Egypt from being a common prisoner to a Prime Minister and the likes. At times we only achieve true happiness when we are drunk with alcohol like 'happy fools' or that special moment with your loved ones. It’s always momentary and short as the economic; political coupled with security challenges causes that moment to fade away like the evaporation process.

This week, the news has been about the Agatu, Benue killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen with the death toll hitting up to 300 and thousands displaced from their homes, the corruption charges against eminent Nigerians have played at the background lingering since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power, the senate dipping their fingers in the eyes of the masses with a mouth-watering purchases of exotic cars in the tune of N330 million, the value of naira against the dollar at the parallel market has continued to obey the law of gravity with the action or inaction of the government failing to resuscitate the lifeline of our economy, prices of goods and services have been skyrocketing virtually by artificial market forces due to the selfishness of Nigerians; we still have Boko Haram to worry about, state governments are still owing civil servants with no feasible plans to pay.  What about our president's passion for globetrotting? Buhari even in the face of the economic downturn has visited over 20 countries, in the last eight months, travelling over 25 times with an estimated cost of $1 million per trip, power problem has been more biting than ever especially during the heat period as the power companies have resorted to pranks with the light thereby turning our beds to 'swimming pools' out of intense heat and hyper-inflated power bills, the megawatts has joined the naira in the epic free fall as it reaches 1,647MW spelling a reliable increase in the supply of darkness and fuel scarcity is traditionally engulfing the country gradually again.

For once in my life, I never knew darkness could be this expensive since I experienced the 'Change' of the All Progressives Congress, APC which also needs a CHANGE itself. The unemployed youths are still very much in the heartless act of feeding off their aged and retired parents with no jobs, all hopes of surviving on Buhari's promised N5, 000 stipends remain dashed. Just as we thought an overdose of problems was close, some Nigerian youths desperate for instant wealth so that they can 'turn up' like Nigerian celebrities picked up arms and invaded the Babington Macauley Junior Seminary in Ikorodu, Lagos, abducted 3 females students and are currently demanding for a staggering sum of N10 to 20 million for each pupil during this hard times.
I wonder how their parents would sleep at night without their kids. These are just a few I could mention before I lose hold of the subject matter of this piece out of emotions.

Ese Oruru's case has exposed the intellectual poverty of Nigerians, archaic cultural beliefs and ways of life coupled with the lack of supremacy of the law in the game of 'big men'. The commitment of the police to the protection of citizens and enforcement of the law has also come under questioning.

The circumstances that aided the successful alleged abduction of Miss Ese Rita Oruru by Yunusa Dahiru aka Yellow, an Hausa boy from Kano are still very unclear with several media platforms jumping blindly into the story with conflicting reports just for recognition. Some analysts have said Ese Oruru wasn't abducted but simply adopted. They believe it was a case of infatuation common among young folks taken to the extreme. Some fetish-minded people have boldly assumed Ese Oruru was abducted through diabolic means by her said lover, Yunusa Dahiru who helped the family of the Orurus in running errands for years while also operating a tricycle to augment his earnings. Ese Oruru who earlier told a human rights lawyer, Huwaila Mohammed that was granted access to her she was in love, denying her age and also wasn’t abducted has finally said she has no knowledge of events that led to her travails giving us an impression that she was jinxed.

In consideration of the age of Ese Oru which is 14 and the unstable age of Yunusa Dahiru which ranges from 18 to 20 and then finally 22 according to his father, Bala Dahiru; it’s safe to say they may not be expected to make the best of decisions. Yunusa's lack of education could have compounded his woes of wrongful thinking and rash decisions. Hence, the need for some adults to redirect his steps when he is going off track. But Ese Oruru's stay in Kano from August, 2015 till March, 2016 only shows some guardians or so-called leaders failed in the performance of their social responsibilities. This could be traced to the cultural belief of the northerners in child marriage. The truth of the matter is that most of the unnamed people that facilitated the conversion of Ese Oruru's faith from Christianity to Islam whether willing or unwillingly saw no absurdity in the relocation of a minor who is too young to take such tough decisions without the consent of her parents. I can categorically say this shameful act can only be condoned in the north. Every southerner whether educated or not knows the legal implications of such barbaric action. It hurts that every party involved in perfecting Ese Oruru's abduction and settlement in the north is trying hard to save his head as the details have been blown in the open, so it will be difficult to get to the root of the issue as all the blames are safely landing on Yunusa's head when its crystal-clear he was lent support.

Ese Oruru's fate perfectly coincides with the trend of child marriage in the north where you see 12-year old girls who can't even spell the word 'love' correctly being coerced into it. An archaic system where girls who are supposed to be in school to brighten their future are married off to aged paedophiles who are not worthy of being called men. Can you imagine a 50-year old man's honeymoon with a 12 to 15 year old girl? That's torture and not pleasure. I wonder what runs through the mind of the husband when he sees the child-bride writhing in pains under him in the name of sex.

I did my National Youth Service Corp programme in Bauchi state in the year, 2010-2011. During my time, Corpers were employed as adhoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission and saddled with the responsibility of organizing the 2011 general elections. I was posted to a remote village named Tibbako under Kariya ward, Ganjuwa Local Government Area to register voters. In the course of duty, the head of the village called Seriki alerted me through my partner, an indigene of Bauchi regarded as R2 by INEC that it was the turn of the women to register. In some core northern areas, the women don't flock around men like it is in the southern part of Nigeria. They discreetly move around. They should never been seen nor heard. The men suddenly disappeared to pave way for the women who were virtually hiding in a nearby hut. As a man from the South-west, it was strange to me. I showed no signs of amazement as I expressed calmness to enjoy the drama. As I turned round to see these women, I actually saw 'school pupils'. In fact some of them could have been 10 years old. The R2 told me they are married and some actually carried their babies. For a minute, I thought I was outside Nigeria. I never believed that village is part of this country. I called the Seriki's attention and he strongly insisted that I registered them referring to them as adults. Before I knew it, the atmosphere was getting tensed up; I discovered that I was vulnerable due to lack of security, so I had to succumb for fear of not dying a cheap death out of stupidity.

 The fingers of some the 'women' were so tiny that the Thumb Print machine had difficulties in detecting them. As I complied with their directive religiously, the Seriki said he could have given me at least two wives if not for my religion which is Christianity. I was astonished. So these girls don't even have a say in the affairs of their future? What a life.
Relating my personal experience with Ese Oruru's case, do you expect these set of people in the practice of child-bride system to raise an alarm about abduction when the woman is virtually relegated to an object according to their own norms and values? The answer is NO! It’s a cultural problem with deep roots in history.
The fact that Ese Oruru said the adults around questioned Yunusa and never asked her a word in a marital affair that concerns her affirms my analysis.

The former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode claims the Emir of Kano. Muhammadu Sanusi II whose palace allegedly housed Ese Oruru and shielded her from her parents is culpable in this abduction saga. Here is my question, how could Yunusa, a commoner boldly flout the orders of a traditional ruler as high as the Emir of Kano by failing to emotionally detach himself from Ese Oruru Bayelsa when the repatriation order was given? Remember the supremacy of traditional rulers observed in the north ensured the success of indirect rule in that part of Nigeria. So obedience from that realm of authority is paramount.

An official statement credited to the Emir has it that he ordered the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 1 in Kano far back as September, 2015 to safely reconcile the girl with her parents.

Sequel to an alleged claim by Ese Oruru of being persecuted by her mother, the Emir claimed he instructed the District head of Kura, the Sharia Commission, Hisbah (religious police),  to investigate the threat to her life which they confirmed was true after an investigation. He then instructed the police to escort her back home but yet no actions were taken.

Did the Sharia Council members and the Hisbah also undermine the authority of the Emir alongside the police?

Was there no feedback mechanism to inform the Emir of her continued presence in Kano after the Emir gave the order?

How come Yunusa had the audacity of housing her in the palace where the order was given as unconfirmed reports have it?

How come no responsible security or administrative body at the palace was able for initiate her release when her parents visited the palace to reclaim their daughter? These are cogent questions I wish I could find answers to.

Yunusa's level of support must have been as massive as that of President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 presidential election.

The lacklustre attitude of our police force has also been exposed. I read the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase whose role I will also fault later on has questioned the lack of professionalism by security operatives in the handling of the case which protracted it over 6 months before he got a wind of it. Reports have it that the IGP has queried the AIG, Zone 1, Kano, Shuaibu Gambo, and the Commissioners of Police in charge of Bayelsa and Kano states over the shoddy handling of Ese Oruru’s abduction and her forceful conversion to Islam. If these people had played their constituted roles to optimum level, Ese Oruru would have been recovered at most in a month before the issue of pregnancy that has put the parties involved in a close shave. I am sure they would have been more proactive if it was a child of an influential politician that was abducted.

Lastly, the odd influence of the 'big men' on the law raised its ugly head again. This is contained in a statement credited to the IGP, Solomon Arase who reiterated that only the Emir of Kano who was out of the country could take a final decision of the girl's release. I was stunned with that statement. Does it mean the IGP is now answerable to a traditional ruler especially in a crucial case like this? I am sure Arase would have stayed put if the Emir refused to order her release. Its obvious many top Nigerians hold offices with portfolios and scope of power not understandable to them.
Under normal circumstances, the Emir's palace ought to be invaded by the police to ensure Ese Oruru is safely recovered. Again, this depicts the level of inequality and impartiality in the application of the law. Once you are not big and influential, your rights are virtually absent in the constitution. It was this same criticism that trailed the poor handling of the kidnap of the Chibok school girls when abducted by Boko Haram. The government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan wasted time treating the kidnap as a ruse before the news reached the international community. Now there is the fear that the abducted girls are never returning or maybe coming back to us as women.
The police should be independent of external interference so that they will be enabled to carry on their duties without fear or favour.

An incident happened in Ibadan, Oyo state some years back. A group of students of the Federal College of Forestry, Jericho Ibadan who were printing out their school research works were massively arrested by the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for simply making noise at a nearby business centre over whose turn it was to print out documents. According to my friend, who was a victim, he said he was shocked when policemen trooped out of the close-by security post and marched them out into the police station. The policemen on ground were already requesting for the 'lion's head' as bail even when their offences weren't ascertained. He secretly sent a text the student union president who alerted the school authorities for a possible intervention that led to their release. A stranger would assume the Nigerian policemen are just being vigilant, but that's what happens when you are the child of a nobody.

Ese Oruru's case is just a few of several other evil deeds swept under the carpet through power plays. Another case of abduction is the missing 15-year old Patience Paul from Benue who has been traced to Sokoto. I am glad Governor Aminu Tambuwal has responded swiftly to prevent undue attention on his state by the media.

Before I drop my pen, I will not fail to mention the thousands or let me assume millions of child-brides in the northern part of Nigeria who have been 'legally abducted' under the guise of cultural practice or Sharia law provisions. They lack the exposure and education to voice out their pains. They have no dreams and aspirations. They have been reduced to baby machines and sex objects. They have been exposed to Sexually Transmitted Diseases and sexually brutality with their so-called husbands attempting to drive a car through a rat hole. We should remember them in our prayers as their freedoms may only come in death.

Remember the case of Wasila Tasi'u, a 14 year old child-bride from Kano who laced her 35-year old husband's food with rat poison leading to his death and that of 3 other who ate the same food material. 10 others were also hospitalized for severe medical complications. This was the best way the hapless minor felt she could react to her own imprisonment under the guise of marriage.

If this archaic act of child-bride isn't stopped, it will certainly be abused with excess that will stun the world. This is the 21st century and it’s defaming in the international community that this is an act we are engaging in.

Former Manchester City footballer, Adam Johnson was axed from his club, Sunderland FC this year and stands the chance of spending up to 10 years behind bar for flirting with a 15-year old school girl with his awareness of her age. We need such strict measures in Nigeria that are blind to the social status of defaulters in order to bring sanity into the system.

Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, I admire your fight against political corruption; but sir, don't you think it’s high time you extended it to moral corruption and ending the madness of paedophilia in the north?

Osayimwen Osahon George
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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