What you need to know about Ese Oruru and Yunusa sentenced to 26 years in jail
The Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday, sentenced Yunusa Dahiru aka Yellow, to 26 years imprisonment for child trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ese Oruru.
Yunusa abducted Ese (then 13 years old) on August 12, 2015 at her mother’s shop in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and took her to Kano State where he forcefully married her, converted her to Islam with a new name Aisha and impregnated the teenage girl who was just in J.S.S 3 at the time she was bedeviled by the unfortunate fate.
The paedophile was arraigned on five count charges which bothered on abduction, illicit sex, child trafficking, unlawful and carnal knowledge and sexual exploitation. Justice Jane Inyang in his ruling on Thursday held that Dahiru was not guilty of count one – abduction, but found guilty of child trafficking, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge.
The judgement laid to rest five years of litigation over the abduction and forceful marriage of the minor by Yunusa whose age was not revealed throughout the period of his trial but is believed to be old enough to father the young girl he sexually exploited.
The Genesis of the Crisis:
Ese is the youngest of the four children of Charles Oruru and Rose Oruru from Uwheru community in Ughelli, Delta State but based in Yenagoa. Rose was a food vendor and it was at her shop Ese was abducted by Yunusa.
Charles Oruru told newsmen in 2016 “My wife is a food vendor and her customers are mostly Hausa men, who she sometimes gives free meals. The said Mr. Yunusa does not have a steady source of income; sometimes my wife gives him free meals.”
When the family discovered the disappearance of Ese on August 12 2015, one of Yunusa’s colleagues Mohammed was said to have informed them that Yunusa had taken her to Kano against her parents’ consent.
“Acting on the above information, my wife approached one Dan Kano, who not only confirmed the story but also promised to take her to Kano to recover our daughter,” Charles told Vanguard in 2016.
Dan Kano thereafter assigned one Rabiu to accompany Ese’s mother to Kano where they would locate the girl and her abductor. Following advice that only the mother should go to Kano, Ese’s mother arrived in Kano on August 15, 2015 and was taken to the chief of a village called Tufa in Kura Local Government Area who was said to have expressed anger over her visit.
“He told them that Ese had been converted to Islam and renamed Aisha, married and that the child was no longer her child,” Charles narrated. “He also informed them that Ese was in the custody of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, at the palace”.
Rose and Rabiu were prevented from seeing the Emir (who is now deposed). The restriction at the Emir’s palace led her to Kwani Police Station where a police officer was assigned to follow her to the palace on August 17.
Ese’s father said “Ese was brought in a black SUV with two Police escorts; Yunusa was also present. When the case was mentioned, every other person was allowed inside except my wife. On returning from the Emir’s court, the DCO informed her that the Emir of Kano told them to go to the Sharia Court, which they objected to.”
Sensing a plot to deny her access to her daughter, the Orurus cried out for help to the public for Ese’s release, the case sparked outrage in the media and on the internet. After an intense media campaign calling for the release of the teenager and the indictment of the then Emir Sanusi as an accomplice, Police announced in February 2016 that Ese had been rescued and Yunusa arrested.
On March 2, 2016, Ese was reunited with her parents at the Force headquarters in Abuja, at that time she was confirmed to be five months pregnant for Yunusa. Up till the moment she gave birth to a baby girl in May 2016, Ese lived at the Police Officers’ Mess in Yenagoa. Her baby would be four years old on May 26.
Lingering Court Case:
The lingering court case which ended on Thursday began in March 2016 at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, during the period of his trial, Yunusa was granted bail by Justice Ajiya Nganjiwa granted Yunusa a N3 million bail with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court while one must be a civil servant of not less than level 12 and the other a renowned title holder. Yunusa could not fulfill the bail conditions and remained in prison till his conviction yesterday.
For Ese Oruru and her family it was a long walk to justice after five years of legal battle but the family believe the wait wasn’t in vain as justice has eventually been served.
“I am very happy with today’s judgement. I believe that this will serve as a deterrent to those engaged in trafficking people’s children. I thank God that the truth has prevailed, all my suffering has not been in vain,” Charles Oruru said.
Yunusa’s counsel, Kayode Olaosebikan, who expressed disappointment in the ruling, said he may be preparing for another legal battle if his client decides to appeal the judgement.
“I am not comfortable with part of the judgment that the sentence should run consecutively which invariably means he will spend 24 years in prison (sic),” Olaosebikan said. “If at all we want to appeal, that is the aspect we will pursue. It all depends on the client if he is ready to pursue the matter.”
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