Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Yinusa Dahiru, alias Yellow, the young man who allegedly abducted, converted to Islam and forcefully married and impregnated 14-year-old Ese Oruru was on Tuesday remanded in prison custody by Justice H.A. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Kano-born Dahiru was brought before the court under very tight security and is being prosecuted on a five-count charge of criminal abduction, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge.
On the sidelines of the court proceedings, Dahiru, 18, admitted to impregnating the teenage girl, but pleaded “not guilty” to the five-count charge when the charges were read to him.
Dahiru, who wore a yellow caftan and brown cap, appeared quite relaxed in court after he was brought in at about 10 am.
A special police prosecutor, Kenneth Dika, who was reported to have met with the suspect and the victim, Miss Oruru, for their official statements, signed the charge sheet in the suit.
The police accused Dahiru of conspiring with the duo of Dankano Mohammed and Mallam Al Hassan to abduct, coerce, deceive and sexually assault the Delta-born Miss Oruru.
The charges read in part: “That you, Yinusa Dahiru, a male resident in Opolo-Epie area of Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, conspired with the duo of Dankano Mohammed and Mallam Al Hassan between August 2015 and Febuary 2016, to commit an offence of abduction and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 27(a) of the Trafficking in persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”
Also, the police prosecution told the court that “Dahiru abducted Ese Oruru by means of coercion, transported and harboured her in Kano State and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 13(2)(b) of the Trafficking in Persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015”.
It added: “That Yinusa Dahiru induced Ese Oruru by the use of deception and coercion to go with you from Yenagoa to Kano State with intent that she be forced or seduced into illicit intercourse and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 15(a) of the Trafficking in Persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”
It also accused him of having unlawful carnal knowledge of the victim without her consent, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act and punishable under Section 358 of the same Act.
Just before the charges were read, Justice Nganjiwa turned down an interpreter who attempted to translate the charges to Dahiru’s indigenous Hausa language. The charges were eventually read to the accused in Pidgin English, following which he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
After listening to the police prosecutor and the lawyer to the accused, Mr. Kayode Olaosebikan, the judge adjourned the matter to March 14, but not before remanding the accused in prison custody till the adjourned date.
Olaosebikan told THISDAY that a bail application before the court would be heard on the said date and described the case as one of “two lovebirds who decided to elope because of the love they had for each other”.
“We have applied for bail and the court will rule on it on the adjourned date. The prosecutor has filed their case. It is easy for the prosecutor to pile up issues, now they have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
“We see the case as that of two love birds. It is a case of Yinusa, an 18-year-old boy in love with a 14-year-old girl and they agreed to elope,” he said, in apparent disregard for the mood of the nation on the case.
He added: “It is easy for the prosecution to bring up charges but Yinusa as a man has pleaded not guilty and it is left for the prosecution to prove their case beyond every reasonable doubt.
“It is a case of two love birds, in our social parlance we call it elopement, but government and the state prefer to call it abduction and it is left for the court to decide whether it was abduction or elopement of two minors because Yinusa is 18 years old and the girl in question is 14 years old.”
It was gathered that the police will, at the next hearing, line up about six witnesses to prove its case against the accused.