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On the 2nd of March while Ese Oruru was being united with her family, a lady friend of mine whom I was following the case on TV with said to me, “you know this case is overblown”. It spiked an argument between us that lasted over three hours but much later I began to see sense in her stance.

I began to notice women at the age of thirteen, but then no lady was paying particular attention. I was in JSS 3 and the topic of discussion among my peers was basically how to woo girls. Later I got to realize that girls also felt the same way, that we were not alone. Maybe it was because of the hormones estrogen and testosterone coursing through our veins.

Since the past weeks, the media has been awash with the news of how fourteen Ese Oruru was kidnapped from her parents’ home in Yenegoa, taken to Kano, converted to Islam, married against her will and renamed. The argument far has been on if Ese did the above mentioned in her own volition or under duress. We also argue about the parenting skills of her parents and their stance on the case. Just like every other story, there are always different sides to it.

Yinusa Dahiru is a Muslim boy from Kano state, he has no record of any form of western education besides the Almajiri school he attended. He was taught Islamic laws which consider a girl of 12 years ripe enough for marriage. Yinusa found a bride in the Oruru family where he is no stranger but knowing that his request for marriage would be bluntly turned down, decided to elope with Ese whose raging hormones tell her that she has found her prince charming and needed no vampire compulsion to go along with the plan. Who then should we blame, Ese, Yinusa or her parents? I have an idea.

The Nigerian law states that sexual relations with anyone below the age of eighteen is considered statutory rape and punishable by the law. Yet, this same country has about 55% of her citizenry practicing the Islamic religion where child marriage is not a crime. Now, how do you reconcile, a religious law contradicting a state law which it is under? And we do know that people tend to more patriotic and defensive to their religion in this part of the world compared to their nation. No wonder Yinusa’s mother started to complain that her house has been turned into a sort of Mecca for no reason. Would you blame the woman? No you won’t. She probably has watched the sons of her friends get married to pretty underage girls and live happily and then suddenly when it’s her turn, it becomes a national problem. A crime has been committed and Yinusa is in custody awaiting trials while a certain Nigerian lawmaker has a 12 years old bride from Egypt and up till date no one has much as served him papers. The senator who knows the law defaults and goes Scot free while an Almajiri boy who does not even understand fully why he is being punished has a case makes national news. Hmm, what an irony!

Who is Ese Oruru? Ese is more than a 100 million Nigerians. Not just the teenagers but the adults and the aged people as well. My maternal grandmother got married at the age of fourteen, I remember my primary five teacher, who was a pensioner then, tell us she married at the age of 12. I dreamt of women at the age of 13 but I had to wait three more years before I had my first contact and it was with a much older lady. I enjoyed it and I do not want her behind bars for any reason because she slept with a boy less than 18 years of age; a law I never even knew existed until I was in my 2nd year in the university. Look at some of our celebrities, Genevieve Nnaji and Clarion Chukwurah got pregnant before they were eighteen. Have the men who put them in the family way been indicted? Especially in the case of Chukwurah who was with a popular Nigerian musician Sir Shina Peters. The answer is no. So what is all the fuss about? Truth be told, a greater percentage of Nigerians, whether Christians or Muslims, where either deflowered as a minor or has deflowered a minor.

Many countries of the world have the age limit set at 16 years, some European countries even have theirs set at 14 years. Nigeria should review their laws but before this is done there should first of all be a continuous sensitization programs in both primary and secondary schools teaching them the laws guiding their sexuality, as I can say with utmost certainty that 99% of them are ignorant of this. Then Nigeria should also find a way to reconcile their constitution with some of their religious practices.


This is not a plea to exculpate Yinusa Dahiru. Ignorance of the law is said after all not to be an excuse, and he acted irresponsibly by eloping with a minor without parental consent. For that he should be punished. I do believe that no one is really to blame and that this case is being overblown because it just happened to be the one out of millions, so I pray them to taper justice with mercy.

                                                                                                            Dubem Val

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