How The Sun first reported Ese Oruru story in December

• Justice must prevail, says father

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

On Tuesday morning, March 1, the weather was a bit cool following a dawn rain and Mr. Charles Oruru was seated in his dim-lighted sitting room eating Indomie from a bowl. Beside him, on his left, are sheets of papers with different phone numbers, while a wooden stool on his right had stacks of newspapers, which has carried the Ese Oruru story.

This day, Oruru was in a different mood from what he was in December 2015 when he visited the Yenagoa office of The Sun, where he narrated the heart-rendering story of his 14-year-old daughter, Rita Eseoghene Oruru, which was later published on December 22, 2015.

His story signposts that of a strong-willed father who, even when it seemed the law enforcement agencies  developed cold feet in rescuing his daughter forcefully taking her to Kano and not only converted to Islam, but also given out in marriage, he forged head until fate brought him towards Mr. Kizito Andah of Kindling Hope Across Nigeria( KHAN), who is also the Vice- Chairman of Child Protection Network (CPN) in Bayelsa.

 After what seems like a lost war, the Ese Oruru story was reignited and outrage spread in Bayelsa over her abduction and forceful marriage spear-headed by Andah and a host of civil society coalitions, which was published again in The Sun of February 19.

 Looking back at the struggle for the release of her daughter, Oruru was full of commendation for CPN and the media for lending their voices to the lonely cries of his family. According to him, it was God that waged the battle on behalf of the Oruru family.

Said he: “I feel very happy today. I am very very happy. I am hearing good news and I am expecting my daughter back from Kano. I have been told by the Commissioner of Police that my daughter would be released and now I have been receiving calls that my daughter has been released. It is by the power of God because I know that if it is by the power of man I cannot go this far. God is the only one that I worship and my family and I would continue to serve him. As  I cannot forceful take someone else child or something that belongs to someone else, I know that my land where I come from, Uhweru, would not allow my child to be taken away from me. I had the confidence that my child must surely come back to me.  God gave me that confidence to know that no matter how long it would take, God would bring her back.

“I did not lose hope, but the police did. The police officer in charge of the case who is an Urhobo man like me lost hope. The police officers, one of whom is Wahili, that followed me to Kano tried to arrest Yinusa and handcuffed him but they were overwhelmed with pressure. It is not easy to go to Kano and spend one week, but they did it. Unfortunately, their supervising officer, one Inspector Okoro, did not follow up.  By the time we came back from Kano and he reported to the Commissioner of Police, he allowed the matter to die. Thank God for the Child Protection Network (CPN) under UNICEF, which gathered other non-governmental organisations and the media.”

  On reports that Ese and Yinusa might be in love, he debunked such and insisted that Yinusa should be made to face the full wrath of the law for his crime and a full-scale investigation be launched so that innocent people would not be implicated.

“Yinusa is a wood seller. He is young and poor. As I speak with you, he still owes my wife money as he could not settle his bills after buying food. It is from the wood selling that he later started the Keke (tricycle) business. Let the law take its course. There is a law in this country and whatever the law says about what he has done is what should be done to him. Yinusa should not implicate anybody; he should be punished so that nobody would do that again in future. That Yinusa has done this would not make me hate Hausa people. Many of them around us here are good people. Among the 12 disciples, there was a Judas. There is no way she can remain in Kano and I am here. All those talk that she is married are just mere talk. She is coming home to me. I am the biological father and I will speak for her.”

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