WHERE are Ese Eruru’s parents and what is their stand in the travails of their daughter exactly? Randy teenager Yunusa or Inuwa or whatever his real name is has already been tried and found guilty by the media and is now in court awaiting sentencing. Ese Eruru’s protruding tummy with a five-month-old baby growing peacefully inside it forecloses any debate about whether he had had sex with a minor or not. The question is whether that sex was consensual or not and what the age of consent is in the Nigerian constitution. Whatever be the case, Yunusa is likely going to receive the news of the birth of his child from jail, and Ese and her parents, or Yunusa’s parents; or both of them; or Bayelsa State will be left to take care of Ese and her baby, the most innocent victim in this lurid tale of careless parenting, youthful adventurism, media bias and societal decay.
But while Yunusa is undergoing trial, we might as well try the other principal actors in this mess by questioning their role from the day the scandal began.
The parents of Ese have maintained a vey loud dubious silence all this time. Usually, when a party to a criminal offence refuses to speak, it is the first sign they are trying to hide something. In this case, it is extraordinary that despite showing so much concern for the welfare of Ese, none of the prominent media campaigners of “Justice for Ese” thought it expedient to track down the parents of the young lady and ask them how they allowed their daughter to stray into the path of a dangerous loose cannon like Yunusa: Eighteen years old, uneducated, hungry for adventure and sex. Instead, some of the media decided to look for scapegoats. They found many of them. They indicted the Kano emirate, which had no knowledge of the scandal before the media roped it into it. They also clobbered the police, which had no information that a 14-year-old girl had been missing from her home in Bayelsa until the media began to hurl insults at them. They then dredged up more of similar incidences, most of which were untrue, spinned the entire story together until they built a plot that is perfectly compatible with the media’s shameful prejudices.
Up to this moment, I am not aware that anybody has asked the parents of Ese the critical question: “When your daughter went missing, did you report to the police?” “When you discovered that she was in Kano living with an 18-year old man, did you report to the police?”
Child Rights activists and Bayelsa State should consider instituting a civil case against the Orurus and charge them with child abuse and neglect. I completely agree with Human Rights lawyer and activist, Festus Keyamo’s position when he tweeted:
“As a parent, if you are not strict enough or close enough to your 17-year-old (daughter) to woo her back home, no police force in the world can do it for you”
That’s it! I think that about sums up the culpability of the Orurus in the travails of their daughter who was only 14 when the scandal unfolded.
But it does not exculpate lover boy, Yunusa from blame. Far from it. If anything Yunusa’s own parents should be interrogated to say at what age their son left home to end up in far away Yenagoa and getting a 14-year-old girl pregnant. From various accounts of the case, it is likely that Yunusa has been with the Oruru family for many years. If he’d left home as a minor and his parents neglected to report his “disappearance” to the police, they too should be docked; and with them the millions of other parents, most of them in the northern part of the country who give birth to children and abandon them to the cruelty of an indifferent world at very tender age. Dame Patience, wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan might have insulted parents in the North for giving birth to children and abandoning them to predators to take advantage of them, but it was an insult well deserved. It doesn’t matter how many they are, authorities, especially in the North, must seriously begin to consider legal action against those careless and cruel parents who expose their children to the dangers lurking everywhere in the streets of our towns and cities. Meanwhile, this is wishing young Ese Oruru safe delivery and all the help she can get to get her life back after such traumatic experience at such a tender age.
Congratulations to IGP Arase and Gov Ambode
“WHEN I’m right, nobody remembers, but when I’m wrong, nobody forgets”. The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode must be ruing this anonymous cliché as they reflect on the events surrounding the abduction and rescue of the three students of Babington Seminary in Lagos which happened about two weeks ago. When Governor Ambode was just settling down and Lagos traffic breakers and criminals were taking advantage of the transition period and returning Lagos to its “jungle” status, Lagosians virtually roasted him alive. But now that he’s beginning to get his act together, which culminated in the spectacular rescue of the Barbington girls in less than 72 hours, nobody is clapping for him. Ditto IGP Arase, whom I understand may be retiring soon (I do hope PMB gives him a little extension, because he’s proving to be quite adept at managing crisis). Many commentators and newspaper editorials hammered him over the Ese Oruru case even though there is no evidence that when the girl disappeared, the police was duly informed. But now, obviously with the support of the Lagos State government, Arase has been able to ensure the safe rescue of the three abducted girls. Again, no laurels for him. For whatever it is worth, this is saying kudos to both IGP Arase and Governor Ambode for the brilliant and courageous rescue of those three students and reuniting them with their parents. That’s the spirit.