The Ese Oruru story took a new hue for me when the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, called to take objection to my column last week. He spoke in his usual feisty spirit, but with a royal dignity. He sounded offended without being irate, and noted that he did what he ought to have done.
That is, he sent a letter to the police AIG and asked the police officer to repatriate the girl to her parents. I asked him if he did that, why did the AIG not respond? Was it because there was a sort of deference to a system that accommodates a minor marrying an adult? After all, Ese’s mother met an angry village chief and the two parents’ journey up North could have resolved it if the system, including the police in cahoots, did not condone a man marrying an underaged girl.
But the emir denied that he locked out Ese Oruru’s mother when he presided over a matter on Ese as well as when her father was not allowed to the palace. The parents had recounted their frustrations in reaching the emir, and they have not debunked it.
The story has run a foul gamut as North versus South, Christian versus Muslim, liberal versus conservative. But it all shows how our sentiments overweigh simple human compassion. Neither faiths condone any form of oppression. And that is what happened to the little girl.
The other side of the story is the sort of parenting Ese had. It has been said that Rose is not her biological mother, and her classmates have heard her say she wants to return to her real mother in Delta State. We need to probe the facts. Did Yunusa’s pedophile dreams exploit a girl who was an alien in her home?
From the Emir’s words, the girl was probably willing to marry the guy. So when parents fail, they foment national crisis. I would want Ese’s real mother to speak, and Ese’s relationship with others in the Oruru household.