FEDERAL High Court, sitting
inYenagoa, Bayelsa State,
yesterday granted the request
of the prosecution to take the
evidence of Ese Oruru in private
at the resumed pre-trial hearing in
the case involving Yunusa Dahiru,
aka ‘Yellow’.
Ese is the 14-year-old girl,
allegedly abducted by Yunusa in
August 2015 from Bayelsa State
and taken to Kano where she was
forced into a marriage.
Yunusa is standing trial at the
court on five counts of alleged
criminal abduction, illicit sex,
sexual exploitation and unlawful
carnal knowledge of a minor (Ese).
In granting the application,
Justice Aliya Nganjiwa premised
the ruling of the court on
the provisions of Section 36
subsections 4 (a) and (b) of the
1999 Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Justice Nganjiwa said, “The
evidence of Miss Ese Oruru will be
taken by the court in private and
in chambers, excluding all other
persons other than the prosecution,
the defendant’s counsels, court
clerks and prison officials and
any other persons if the accused
person does not object.”
Justice Nganjiwa said the
defence counsel failed to show
what injury or harm the accused
person would suffer on account of
private hearing for the victim, Ese
He added that it was only the
evidence of Ese that would be
taken in private as other trials
would be done in open court.
Justice Nganjiwa, who
adjourned the matter until June
2, for hearing on the substantive
suit, corrected the impression
that the private hearing would
not jeopardise the hearing of the
substantive suit since other trials
would be conducted in public.
According to the judge, victims,
including those of rape and child
trafficking that fall in that category
can also be protected by the court.
The judge further affirmed that
the mother of the now heavily
pregnant Ese, has been able to
show the court that her daughter
was less than 18 years.
“What will the accused suffer
if the victim‘s evidence is taken
in private? I hereby order that
the evidence should be taken in
private and in the court chambers.
The application hereby succeeds,”
Ngajiwa said in his ruling.
But in his argument, lead
lawyer to the defendant, Mr.
Kayode Olaosebikan, had earlier
maintained that there was no
merit in taking Ese’s evidence in
He contended that what the
lead counsel to the complainant,
Kenneth Dike, was seeking to
prevent had already happened
with the victim’s pictures already
all over the Internet, print and
electronic media.
Dike, who headed the police
prosecution team, however,
insisted that what the prosecution
was seeking was the constitutional
right of the victim to fair trial,
noting that in the interest of justice,
Ese’s image and future must be
Outside the courtroom,
Olaosebikan told journalists
that there was nothing unusual
about Justice Nganjiwa’s ruling,
affirming that he was comfortable
with it.
“The court has given a superior
opinion why the evidence should
be taken in camera. We have also
filed an application for varying
the bail condition. There’s nothing
unusual about that,” the lawyer
He lamented that the accused
has not been able to leave prison
custody as a result of the stringent
bail conditions.
He lamented, “The court said
that a traditional title holder and
a level 12 civil servant from here
should stand as surety. But when
you look at the demography, they
are most likely to be Bayelsans.
“When you get somebody and
they know that it’s Yunusa Dahiru
that they are standing for, they
say ‘is it not the boy that stole our
Meanwhile, the Urhobo
Progressives Union and the
Federation of Women Lawyers,
have intimated the court to their
readiness to provide legal services
for the victim, Ese Oruru and her
The UPU counsel is led by Albert
Akpomudje, SAN, while FIDA
legal team is headed by Mrs. Dise
Akpomudje, who is also the
National Secretary of UPU, said
they had applied to the state
Commissioner of Police to be
joined in the matter and we’re still
waiting for the reply.

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