Emir of Kano orders release of Bayelsa girl
• Sanusi denies keeping teenager in his palace
• Police rescue Ese, invite family, Yinusa, Sharia Council • Planned protest put off
• Planned protest put off
Amid growing outrage, the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi, yesterday ordered that 14-year-old Ese Oruru who was kidnapped to Kano State from Bayelsa State as a child-bride be returned to her parents .
Sanusi ordered the Kano State Sharia Commission to liaise with the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 1 to commence the process of returning the girl allegedly abducted by one Yunusa of Kura Local Government of the state.
An indication that the girl would be released emerged yesterday when the planned protest march to the Bayelsa Government House and the House of Assembly by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) was put on hold.
When our correspondent got to the gate of the Government House about 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning to cover the planned protest, it met a different scenario. The state Chairman of CLO, Nengi James, confirmed on phone the inability of the civil rights organisation to carry out the planned protest. He said he was not particularly happy with the turn of events as he thought the parents of the girl had developed cold feet or decided to take a different turn at the eleventh hour.
The CLO, in a statement after an emergency meeting on Sunday, had indicted the emir and the Kano Emirate Council for allegedly harbouring the abducted teenager.
The CLO condemned the action and called on the Federal Government and the international community to probe and help release the abducted teenager.
In a swift reaction, the emir of Kano denied the allegation, describing the story as mischievous and baseless.
At a press conference at his palace, the emir lamented that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) called him from South Africa to know his side of the story, which he said was crafted to simply tarnish the image of the Emirate Council and Islam.
He said: “Since August last year, the District Head of Kura came to the palace with a young girl of about 15 years, alongside somebody from the area, whom we were told was married to him after she was converted to Islam.
“I ordered her immediate repatriation to her parents who were said to be in Bayelsa State. I ordered the Kano State Shariah Commission to liaise with the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Zone 1 to assist in taking her back to her parents in Bayelsa.”
Sanusi said he solicited the intervention of the police authorities because the girl was said to have made a statement that she was afraid that her parents could harm her.
“In Islam, she has no right to just go ahead and decide things for herself. She is still young. She is not mature enough. And there is nowhere in Islam where such young girls can just make up their mind and give their hands in marriage just like that. It is not permitted in Islam. That is why we said she must be taken back to her parents, “ Sanusi explained.
The emir said that to his surprise, he just saw online stories alleging that he ordered the girl to remain in captivity in the palace. He disclosed that he didn’t know the story had gained so much publicity until he was called from South Africa.
“To my utter surprise, since the time we ordered that the girl be taken to her parents in Bayelsa through AIG Zone 1 office, we didn’t hear anything about her just for us to now start hearing all kinds of stories that we are keeping her in our custody. This is injustice of the highest order.
“I am therefore giving an order that an investigation should immediately commence with the AIG office to know the position of things since that time we ordered her repatriation to her parents.”
The emir called on the said “husband” of the young girl to exercise more patience and wait till when she reaches the age of 18 years before he could ask for her hand in marriage.
He urged stakeholders not to portray themselves as being holier in religious matters like this. “We cannot in anyway be more Muslims than the Prophet of Islam Muhammad. We must therefore, do things according to the set rules and regulations governing our religion,” he advised.
The action of the emir has halted any planned protest for now as Sanusi, in his official reaction, distanced himself and the Kano Emirate Council from the purported abduction of Ese Oruru by her suspected lover.
Ese Oruru was allegedly abducted in Opolo, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by Yunusa in August, 2015.
The Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has said the emir of Kano’s hajj was responsible for the delay in securing the release of Oruru. Arase spoke on Sunday after the launch of “Free Ese” campaign by a newspaper which drew the attention to the plight of the Orurus, causing outrage at the shocking story.