Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, has called for a comprehensive investigation into the abduction and subsequent prosecution of the culprits of 14 year old Ese Oruru, who was abducted and forced into Islamic marriage in Kano since August last year.
While describing the incident as unfortunate, Dickson said the state government has directed the Ministry of Justice to collaborate effectively with the Nigeria Police, towards ensuring that Ese’s abduction was prosecuted to a logical conclusion.
He also expressed optimism that the investigation would be extended far and wide with a view to bring the perpetrators to book.
The Governor, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, tabled the demand on Thursday evening during an interview with journalists in Yenagoa, shortly after receiving Ese and her parents in Government House, Yenagoa.
Dickson, who described Ese as a minor, wondered why it took so long to secure her release, adding that, there were questions begging for answers, “as those who knew something about her abduction failed to say or do something to ensure Ese’s return to her parents.”
The governor said, “This matter has to do with enforcement of the laws of this state. This matter is not religious; It is not a matter that has to be swept under the carpet, because of one tradition or the other. We as a government is seeing this matter as one of law enforcement; the rights of a young girl, innocent childhood, her right to proper development and her right to grow up in the company of her parents and also practice for now the faith of her parents. A lot has happened.
“I want to use this opportunity to assure all that, the Nigeria Police Force is working hard and I have directed the Ministry of Justice to collaborate effectively with them to ensure that this matter is prosecuted to a logical conclusion.
“I also trust and believe that, the Police investigations would also extend far and wide, because there are questions begging for answers and we as a government, we want to know why adults, fathers and grandfathers, who saw a minor taken away from here down and into circumstances she found herself in in far away Kano did not make it a priority of returning that child; that minor to the lawful and proper custody of her parents.
“We want to know why it took this long; we like to know those who knew what was going on, but did not say something we like to know those, who could have saved this situation much earlier, but did not. Like I said, we are looking at this issue not from the prism of culture, tradition or religion. From now on, this matter has to be looked at purely and simply as a case of law enforcement and as a case of state responsibility and protection and safety of our children; in this case, a minor. I have had preliminary briefings by the Police Commissioner and his team.”
Dickson, however, stressed that, the issue of Ese’s abduction should not be treated from the viewpoint of culture, tradition or religion, but rather as a case of an infringement on Ese’s fundamental human rights and law enforcement.
The Governor, who said he has received preliminary briefings from the Police Commissioner, directed that, a team of medical personnel and counselors be set up to liaise with Ese and her parents, in order to offer support and expressed the government’s preparedness to take appropriate steps to reintegrate her to the society.
“We have directed that a team be set up, made up of medical practitioners, counsellors, who would liaise and work with Ese and her parents to offer support we are prepared to support and stand by Ese, not just now, but most importantly in the days, months and years ahead.
“I like to thank all Nigerians for their legitimate concern in this matter, I appreciate the efforts of the parents and the Oruru family. I thank my counterpart, the Kano State Governor, since this matter became public knowledge. I like to thank the media.”