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The Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has said the Emir of Kano’s Hajj trip is responsible for the delay in securing the release of 14-year-old Ese Oruru, who is being held captive in Kano State.
Arase said this on Sunday after the launch of a “Free Ese” Campaign by PUNCH, which drew the attention of thousands of Nigerians to the plight of the Orurus, causing outrage over the shocking story.
“I have just spoken with the Sunday PUNCH’s Editor. I explained to her about the delay. The police command in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, actually followed up the matter right from Kano State, ” Arase told The PUNCH.
“The Emir decided that he was going to mediate. But, because of his trip to Mecca with the President; that was what caused the delay. But now that he is back, we are going to sort it out as quickly as possible.”
Ese had been abducted in August 2015 by one Yinusa, who was a longstanding customer of her mother, Mrs. Rose Oruru, a food vendor in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Yinusa subsequently took Ese, who was 13 years old at the time, to Kano where she was allegedly converted to Islam and forcefully married.
Since August 12 when her parents made the shocking discovery, trips to Kano, the involvement of the police and efforts to get the Emir of Kano, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, at whose palace the girl is believed to be held to resolve the matter and ensure the return of the 14-year-old to her parents have been resisted by those responsible for the abduction.
While her mother was told that Ese had converted to Islam and, therefore, was no longer her daughter, her father was told that his daughter was an 18-year-old adult and not 14, hence she was capable of making decisions for herself.
The fact that the teenager’s parents had reported at the Ekeki Police Station, Yenagoa, and to the Kwani Police Station, Kano, and sought the IGP’s intervention since last year without success angered many Nigerians.
The parents had said all efforts to secure the release of their daughter from the palace had proved abortive.
Arase, however, explained that the police authorities did not abandon the matter as was being insinuated, adding that the release of the girl would be “sorted out as quickly as possible.”
When asked how soon Nigerians could expect the release of Ese, the IG noted that it was dependent on the intervention of the emir.
He said, “Well, that is dependent on the intervention of the emir. We have agreed to resolve the matter. I cannot give a timeline.”
When our correspondent asked again, “Sir, you mean the release is dependent on the emir, and not the police?”
Arase said, “I have not said anything like that. Have I? I have told you I have discussed these things with the editor. You can ask her. You are starting a different line of interview?
“But what I am telling you is that we did not abandon the matter as being insinuated. We have been following it up. The issue will be resolved.”