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The drama surrounding Nigerian kid, Ese Oruru, is the result of failed parenting. The girl is not the last of her kind around even though many would wish her case was a bad dream that will soon go away. A bad dream, yes, but this one is not about to go away in a hurry.

The only sunny side to the gloomy Ese Oruru saga is that her abductor, Yunusa Dahiru aka ‘Yellow’, did not turn out to be one of the low-level recruiters for Boko Haram or ISIS on the prowl. Whether he eloped with or actually abducted Ese, the young chap behaved irresponsibly. But, even less dignifying was the condemnable behaviour of Yunusa’s father who failed at parenting by seeing nothing wrong in living under the same roof with a teenager who was brought in by his teenage son and whose parents he, the father, knew nothing about. Heck!

Also less dignifying is the conduct of the Kano state Shari’a Commission aka Hisbah and the Kano state police command that failed to carry out the instruction of the Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi II. Reports have it that the Emir saw many things wrong with Ese’s desire to convert to Islam and marry Yunusa last August and directed the Shari’a Commission to hand her over to the police authorities in Kano.

The Kano police command confirmed this but claimed that since Ese was brought in late in the day, it requested the Shari’a commission to accommodate her for the night. The Hisbah people never showed up, according to the Kano state police command. So many nasty things happened to Ese between August when Emir Sanusi’s instruction was breached and last month when those concerned saw it fit to carry out the Emir’s instruction. Though Yunusa’s father lamely explained that his son never co-habited with Ese, there are media reports that say the young girl is carrying a five-month pregnancy!

Meanwhile, the Kano state police command and the state Shari’a commission are busy trading blame. While they are at it, it is interesting just to imagine what their reaction would have been had Yunusa’s last known address was Sambisa, the nation’s best-known evil forest! Were it so and, had Yunusa despatched Ese there, perhaps all the hot air over her abduction would have been more coherent than it presently is. By the way, whoever said a 13-year old girl in Yenagoa who, for whatever reason, followed a man to Kano cannot extend her trip to Borno?

You don’t need to stretch the imagination too far. Until Turkey turned the screw on transit passengers, starry-eyed teenagers, some of them barely older than Ese, simply turned their back on schooling, forsook friends and family members and simply abandoned the relative comfort of comparatively affluent Europe only to surface in Raqqa, or any of the several ISIS-controlled godforsaken hellholes, either as consorts or war brides, of certified murderers.

Back home in Nigeria, there has been reports of teenagers who, in search of a supposed heavenly bliss, donated themselves as consorts to and, suicide bombers for, Boko Haram terrorists. There were also reports of parents who, for similar reasons, donated their daughters to the terrorists for similar functions! Here, we are not talking of hundreds of schoolgirls or young village girls who were simply snatched and taken as war booty and forced to become war brides! Of course, the whole Ese saga smacks of failure in parenting but, irrespective of any observed gaps, we have cause to congratulate the entire Oruru family of Yenagoa for re-uniting with their daughter.

The matter at hand is grave, made even graver by the drama introduced into it by Ese’s father, Charles. Of all the anguish and pain family members of abduction victims go through, it sounded a little out of this world that all Mr. Charles Oruru missed most during his daughters seven-month hibernation in Kura, in Kano state was, please don’t laugh, her dancing! His words: ‘I really missed her. What I missed most about her is her dancing!’ Mr. Charles should cheer up now that Ese is back home. You can bet there must have been a lot of drumming and dancing in the Oruru homestead in Yenagoa to make up for the ones Mr. Charles missed.

The Ese saga will continue to agitate many minds for some time to come. According to one report, Yunusa’s father said his son had been a domestic hand for the Oruru family for ten years before he abducted their daughter. That means, Yunusa was a minor, a mere eight-year old, when he started serving the Oruru family. This is not necessary now since Yunusa has landed himself in soup and will now need the services of lawyers to get him off the hook.

Of course, he has to be sanctioned, and appropriately too, to serve as a deterrent to others. What he is charged with is immaterial because there is nothing in the Islamic Shari’a which Yunusa subscribes to that permits abduction or rape or kidnapping and like vices. Just like the Kano state police command, the Kano state Shari’a Commission that would have been the appropriate body to try Yunusa cannot be a fair arbiter. The way it looks, Yunusa might be taken to Yenagoa to be tried since that is where he committed the offence. Meanwhile, a word of advice for Mr. Charles Oruru!

If he is one of those fathers who think it is unmanly to spare time and thought for their children, especially their daughters, it was time he started living in the present. Any thirteen-year old is still a kid: they should be in school and be showered with all the love parents can muster. Of course, peer pressure has a way of exerting negative influences on some thirteen-year-olds but it is the duty of parents to be on the lookout for the red flag. Failure by parents to read the signs right is the ultimate failure in parenting.

Ese is not the last of her kind around even though many would wish her case was a bad dream that will soon go away. A bad dream, yes, but this one is not about to go away in a hurry.

* Abdulrazaq Magaji writes from Abuja, Nigeria.



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