The Nigeria Police admitted on Thursday that their handling of the abduction of 14-year-old girl, Ese Oruru, from Bayelsa State to Kano was shambolic and responsible for the delay in reuniting the teenager with her family.
Efe was taken without parental consent to Kano by Yunusa Dahiru (alias Yellow), a commercial tricycle operator and regular customer at her mother’s food store on August 20, 2015.
She was forced into marriage after her conversion to Islam.
Reports have shown that the police in Kano failed to follow up with the Sharia Commission in Kano when the matter was first reported in 2015.
Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the Zonal 1 Command headquartered in Kano, Shuaibu Gambo, said leaving the state Sharia commission to handle the case after the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Mohammed Sanusi II), referred the matter to the command in August, complicated the situation.
“Indeed, the emir had sent a team of the Sharia commission members, Ese family and the abductor to our office in August .
“And my predecessor, AIG Tambari Yabo, confirmed the receipt of the letter, as well as the team, from the monarch.
“But after meeting them, and realising it was late, he directed that they come back the following morning.
“The following day, when the AIG didn’t see the Sharia commission officials and Ese family, he presumed that they had amicably settled the matter; because he is aware of the fact that Sharia commission had the ability to handle the case. But they had not done so.
“Giving the benefit of hindsight, it is evident that there was a failure of communication as the delegation never returned with the girl for onward transportation to her family. And no further report of complaint whatsoever was received in respect of the case again.
“On the part of the zone, when it did not hear from the delegation it innocently presumed that the case might have been resolved by the Sharia commission, which as you know, is also empowered to adopt alternative dispute resolution measures in cases of this nature,” he said.
Gambo stated further that the command traced Efe to the Sharia commission office on Monday after failure to get her in Tofa village.
She was eventually released on Monday and reunited with her family on Wednesday amidst calls by angry Nigerians that all involved in the criminal act be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has said it will dismiss from service, any police officer found culpable in the abduction saga.
The commission said it was waiting for the report of the ongoing investigation of some police officers involved in the case, as directed by the Inspector- General of Police, Solomon Arase.
A statement by the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, on Thursday in Abuja, said the commission “will ensure that any police officer who is found to have compromised himself either by omission or commission in the saga will be flushed out.”
It commended Arase “for his swift action in rescuing the teenager and ensuring that she was immediately reunited with her family,” adding that it would work with the IG to see that Nigerians including the likes of Ese were guaranteed their freedom to life.
“The Police Service Commission is constitutionally mandated to exercise disciplinary action against members of the police among other responsibilities and has the right to dismiss any officer found culpable in the on-going abduction saga,” the statement added.
Arase on Wednesday ordered an in-house administrative inquiry to review conduct of police officers responsible for the initial investigation into the abduction.
Force spokesperson, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Olabisi Kolawole, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
Kolawole said aside the prosecution of the actors in the case, any officer indicted would be sanctioned accordingly.
He said: “I can assure you that the abductor and all other actors in this abduction saga will be brought to justice.
“Any officer indicted of professional dereliction will be firmly dealt with accordingly.
“This is the only way this nation can make a clear statement in unison that any individual that violates the sanctity of the right of our children shall be dealt with in accordance with the country’s laws.”