Ese Oruru: Yunusa returns to prison custody
Justice H.A Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday ordered that Mr. Yunusa Dahiru, on trial for abducting 14-year-old Ese Oruru be returned to prison custody pending the determination of his bail application.
The order followed the inability of both the five-man defence team of Yunusa Dahiru, led by Mr. Kayode Olaosebikan and the three-man team of police prosecutors headed by Kenneth Dika to present ‘cited authorities’ in their arguments during the court session.
This is coming as the prayer sought by Oruru’s counsel that the judge should allow the victim to be quizzed or have her evidence taken in private was vehemently rejected by the defence team which insisted that the teenager must appear in court in person.
Nganjiwa held that the application for bail could not be fully heard since counsel to both parties failed to furnish the court with all authorities cited in their cases as directed by the court, especially whenever the lawyers’ processes are to be adopted.
In the resumed hearing yesterday, Yunusa, who is facing a five-count charge of criminal abduction, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge, was brought into the courtroom at about 10.am accompanied by some prison officials.
Unlike last week when he look unruffled. Kano-born Yunusa, popularly known as Yellow, was in a pensive mood and look emaciated. He wore a green traditional Hausa dress and was later asked to get down from the dock when it was obvious his questioning could not proceed yesterday.
The seven-paragraph affidavit asking for bail was deposed to by Oladeji Maxwell of Olaosebikan and Co., while the defence team’s affidavit rejecting the bail application was deposed to by Debo Waheed, a member of the police prosecuting team.
The prosecution prayed the court not to grant the bail request by Yunusa’s five-man legal team, which aside Olaosebikan included Audu Bulama, Oche Alex, Yahaya Sheriff and Huwaila Mohammed.
But Yunusa’s legal team argued that since it was a ‘bail able’ offence, the judge should not have any inhibitions in granting the prayer of the accused.
In opposing the bail application, the police noted that it was difficult to ‘retrieve’ Yunusa from the Muslim Council in Kano when he was first arrested, arguing that if the accused was granted bail, it would literally put an end to the case.
‘’It took the police from August till now to get the suspect arrested. If he’s granted bail, he will not come back to this court because he is not even resident in this jurisdiction’’, the prosecution argued.
But Olaosebikan, the lead counsel to Yunusa called on the judge to disregard the prosecution’s prayer, arguing that the statement was even an indictment on the police legal team.
‘’ It is preposterous that a member of the police force would say that they cannot retrieve Yunusa from the Muslim council in Kano, when the members of that body are all civilians. The court should not rely on that argument’’, Olaosebikan said.
In a brief ruling, Justice Ngajiwa reserved ruling on the bail application to a later date and ordered that Yunusa should be sent back to prison.
‘’ Ruling is hereby reserved for the 21st of March and suspect is to be remanded in prison custody’’, the judge ordered.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, the defence lawyers insisted that the case was that of a ‘Romeo and Juliet’, noting that the argument that the girl should be shielded during court sessions was untenable.
‘’Their reason is that they don’t want publicity for the girl, but our own position is that the matter is already in the public domain. The prosecution created a media nightmare for the girl. They dug the pit, let them wallow in it.
‘’Our own contention is that what they are trying to prevent has already occurred. Even the trial started in the media. So they can’t stop what they started’’, Olaosebikan said, insisting that his client had not committed any crime against the state.
During the last court session, Yunusa who claims he is 18 years old, had admitted impregnating the teenage girl, but pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the five-count charges in the case No FHC/YNG/17c/2016 between the Inspector General of Police, IGP, versus Yinusa Dahiru.
The police had accused Yunusa of conspiring with the duo of Dankano Mohammed and one Mallam AlHassan, both at large to ‘abduct, coerce, deceive and sexually assault’ the Delta born Miss Oruru.
The prosecution argued that the suspect committed an offence punishable under section 27(a) of the Trafficking in persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
Prison officials shielded Yunusa, who was led away in handcuffs.
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