The Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, 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.
A highly placed source told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the officers were accused of not giving the case the attention it deserved and for allowing it to drag on for over six months before it came to Arase’s notice.
The IG, it was learnt, was embarrassed by the lack of professionalism exhibited by the three senior officers “who failed to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident within a short time.”
The source said, “The IG has directed that the AIG and the two CPs in Bayelsa and Kano should be queried for failing to handle Ese’s case with the professionalism expected of senior officers like them and for allowing the case to drag on for a long time without notifying the Force headquarters about the challenges they were facing.”
It was gathered that Arase was particularly annoyed by the conduct of the AIG and his lackadaisical approach to the case.
“Emir Lamido Sanusi’s explanation indicated that the AIG was to blame for the shoddy handling of the case; the IG was totally disappointed in Gambo and his role in the abduction saga,” another source stated.
It was gathered that the police had begun an investigation into the matter with a view to punishing the investigating officers responsible for the shoddy job.
“I can tell you that all those responsible for this embarrassment will not go scot-free. Definitely, heads will roll,” the source added.
Findings indicated that the police were awaiting the report of the medical examination carried out on Ese to determine other charges that would be preferred against her abductor.
Yunusa faces sex crime charges in Bayelsa
It was learnt that Ese’s abductor, Yunusa Dahiru, who faces kidnapping charges, among others, would be prosecuted in Bayelsa State, where the crime took place, while the Kano Sharia Council members would also be arrested for their roles in the teenager’s forceful conversion to Islam.
Arase had come under fire for the failure of the police to rescue Ese who was abducted from her home in Bayelsa, converted to Islam and married by Yunusa, who took her to Kano, where he along with the Kano Sharia Council members prevented Ese’s mother from having access to her.
The police may prefer sexual abuse and defilement charges against Ese Oruru’s abductor, it was learnt.
Our correspondents learnt that a prima facie case had been established against Yunusa.
A source said the report of a preliminary investigation submitted to the IG indicated that Yunusa had carnal knowledge of Ese.
“The legal department of the police has started compiling criminal charges against Yunusa, based on the prima facie case that had been established against him. If the charges are proven against him in court, I see him spending a long time behind bars,” the source stated.
It was learnt that the medical report on Ese would be tendered as evidence against the abductor.
The police spokesperson declined to comment on the charges that would be preferred against Yunusa, saying investigation had yet to be concluded.
Nigerians worked hard for my daughter’s release
Ese’s mother who was dressed in a red blouse over an Ankara wrapper met with the IG before she addressed a joint press briefing with the Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, on Wednesday.
She thanked the media, the police and Nigerians for assisting her to recover her daughter.
Mrs. Oruru who spoke in pidgin English for just 19 seconds, said she would be going home with her daughter, adding that she had taken custody of Ese.
She said, “All Nigerians worked hard so I can get my daughter back. Now that I have her, all that is left for me is to go home. I thank everyone, including the police, who made it possible; I have taken custody of my daughter and I would be going home with her.”
Kolawole said that aside from Yunusa, other actors in the abduction saga would be apprehended and prosecuted.
Police begin in-house inquiry
Kolawole also stated that the IG had ordered an in-house administrative inquiry to review the professional conduct of officers involved in the initial investigation of the case, noting that any officer indicted for professional dereliction would be firmly dealt with.
Kolawole said, “I can assure you that the abductor (Yunusa) and all other actors (Kano Sharia Council members) in this abduction saga will be brought to justice. This is the only way this nation can make a clear statement in unison that any individual that violates the sanctity of the rights of our children shall be dealt with in accordance with extant laws of our country.
“Aside from the prosecution of the actors directly involved in this case, the IG has also ordered an in-house administrative enquiry designed to review the professional conduct of officers responsible for the initial investigation of the case. Any officer indicted for professional dereliction will be firmly dealt with, accordingly.”
The police spokesperson said Ese was being given psychological and emotional support by the Gender and Child Protection unit of the police which handles cases of violence against children.
“In addition, a team from the medical department of the Force is also extending medical attention to the girl-child and upon certifying her medical status and emotional state, Ese will be re-united with her parents,” Kolawole explained.
She urged the media to respect the privacy and protective rights of Ese and her family, stressing that it is the minimum legal and international requirement in cases of that nature.
“As a civilised nation, this is a standard we should not compromise in the long term interest of the girl-child victim and her traumatised family,” the police spokesperson added.
Schoolmates send messages of support
Following the release of Ese, many Nigerians, including her friends, have expressed their relief and gratitude.
One of Ese’s friends, 14-year-old SS1 student, Miss Pere Success, said, “I am very happy she has been released. We last saw before we did our junior WAEC last year.
“I cannot imagine losing Ese because she is one of my best friends. I am very happy that she has been released.”
Another of Ese’s close friends, Miss Hattarrh Ozekime, who will be 15 later this year, said, “I was shocked when some people said Ese was not 14 years old, because that is her real age. Ese and I are very close. I don’t think she has had any problem in school. We first met each other in JSS1. We both have the dream of studying medicine and becoming medical doctors in the future.
“If Ese were here, I am sure she would have been in the science class, like me, and we would still be sitting together in class. I will be so happy to see her again.
“Her education is her first priority. She does not play with it. Her favourite subject is Integrated Science, but I believe she would also like biology and mathematics in SS1. I will hug her when I see her again.
“Ese, please come back to school; I want you to know that we love you so much and miss you. And when you come back, you will still be our best friend.”
Another of Ese’s classmates, 14-year-old Esther Ikaye, said, “I will like to see her again because we have been friends since JSS1. I will like us to be in the same class since she wanted to be a medical doctor, while I want to become a nurse.”
Fourteen-year-old Agamade Miebimo said, “Ese is kind. I dont think she would have deliberately followed that man because she is not the kind of person that follows men about. I am praying that she will come back home soon. I am missing her a lot.”
Michael Emena, 15, said he was very angry when he heard about her abduction because he had been friends with Ese since JSS2.
He said, “She would not have followed that man on her own accord because she only moves with people she is very familiar with.”
Another of her classmates, Adewale Joseph, said, “Ese, welcome back. I am so happy. Thank God you are alive.”
All of Ese’s friends our correspondent spoke to called for justice for her. They said Yunusa should be prosecuted because he might have “done bad things” to her and might do the same thing to another young girl if not punished.”
The Orurus said that their daughter had been forced to convert to Islam and into a child marriage without their consent.
A teacher in the school, Mr. Sunny Julius, said, “I am so happy she has been released. ”
Ese tries to hide identity, protruded tummy
Ese Oruru and her mother, Rose Oruru, were sighted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Wednesday as they made their way to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It was learnt that the duo would leave for Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, from Port Harcourt.
Our correspondent gathered that they boarded an Air Peace flight around 4.30pm.
At the airport on Wednesday, the rescued teenager did not put on the hijab which she wore when she arrived in Abuja from Kano State on Tuesday.
Rather, she wore a fez cap, possibly to conceal her identity from other passengers, NAIA workers and airport users.
Ese wore a large blue long sleeves shirt on a pair of jeans and carried a black bag when she was sighted with her mother at the Abuja airport.
The 14-year-old and her mother were escorted to the airport by armed police officers, who shielded them from other passengers at the facility.
Our correspondent observed that Ese’s tummy was protruding as one who was pregnant.
Armed officers who escorted the minor ensured that no one came close as they hurriedly led the girl and her mother to the flight and stopped attempts to get their photographs.
Jubilation as Ese arrives Bayelsa
Ese and her mother arrived Bayelsa a few minutes to 9pm on Wednesday.
At her family house, relatives and neighbours who had been waiting burst into songs on sighting the mother.
It was learnt that Ese was with the CP of the state. She is expected to meet with Governor Seriake Dickson today (Thursday), before going home.