• Suspect pleads not guilty • Alleged abductor insists ‘girl’s mother aware of our love affair’
Yunusa Dahiru, the alleged abductor of the 14-year-old Ese Rita Oruru, was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on five-count charge of abduction, kidnapping, unlawful carnal knowledge and sexual exploitation.
The accused person, who appeared in court in a relaxed mood, was arraigned before Justice H.A. Nganjiwa around 10:00 a.m. yesterday, in a case between the Inspector General of Police (IGP) versus Yinusa Dahiru ‘M’ aged 18 years.
Prior to his arraignment yesterday, a special prosecutor from the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja had arrived in Yenagoa for the formal arraignment of Dahiru for masterminding the abduction of Ese Oruru from Bayelsa to Kano State and forcefully marrying her and converting her to Islam.
The special prosecutor, who arrived in Bayelsa on Saturday, was reported to have met with the suspect, Dahiru and Ese Oruru to officially obtain statements from them.
The charges read:
• That Yunusa Dahiru ‘m’ of Opolo-Epie, with Dankano Mohammed, ‘m’, Mallam Alhassan, ‘m’ presently at large between August 2015 and February 2016 at Oplo-Epie in Yenagoa Judicial Division of the Federal High Court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Abduction and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 27 (a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015;
• That Dahiru between August 2015 and February 2016 at Opolo Epie, Yenagoa, abducted one Rita Ese Oruru ‘f’ aged 14 years by means of coercion, transported and harboured her in Kano State and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 13 (2) (b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015;
• That Dahiru, between August 2015 and February 2016 at Opolo-Epie, Yenagoa, induced one Rita Ese Oruru by the use of deception and coercion to go with him from Yenagoa to Kano State with intent that she be forced or seduced into illicit intercourse and thereby committed an offence punishable under anti-trafficking law;
• That Dahiru, between August 2015 and February 2016 2016 at Opolo-Epie, Yenagoa, procured one Rita Ese Oruru and subjected her into sexual exploitation in Kano State and thereby committed an offence punishable under the anti-trafficking law;
• That Dahiru, between August 2015 and February 2016 at OIpolo-Epie, Yenagoa, had unlawful carnal knowledge of one Rita Ede Oruru , without her consent and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 357 of the Criminal Code Act and punishable under section 358 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C. 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigerian, 2004.
After reading the charges, Dahiru pleaded not guilty before the court, while the case was adjourned to March 14 for hearing on the bail application by his counsel, Kayode Olaoshebikan.
After he appeared from the court unruffled, Yunusa told reporters that he had been dating Ese before they both left for Kano, adding that his mother was aware of the relationship.
He admitted being responsible for Ese’s five months pregnancy, but said he did not know how old the pregnancy was as he started sleeping with her months before they both left for Kano. Dahiru further said it was only the father that was not aware of their relationship as the mother knew that they were both seeing each other.
The counsel to Dahiru, Kayode Olashebikan, said: “ There is no case, it is easy for the prosecution to bring up charges, but Yunusa as a man has pleaded not guilty and it is left for the prosecution to prove their case beyond every reasonable doubt.
“It is a case of two love birds, in our social parlance we call it elopement but government and the state prefer to call it abduction. It is left for the court to decide whether it is abduction or elopement of two minors because Yunusa is 18 years old and the girl in question is 14 years old.”
The prosecuting counsel, Kenneth Dka, said the state was ready to prove its case against the accused persons, with its six witnesses.