A Federal High Court in Yenagoa on Thursday granted a prosecution’s request for a private questioning of Ese Oruru, the underage girl who was taken from Bayelsa to marry and convert to Islam in Kano.
Oruru’s alleged abductor, Yunusa Dahiru, is being tried on a five-count charge that includes criminal abduction, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor.
The Judge, Aliya Nganjiwa, who granted the application, adjourned the matter to June 2.
Mr. Nganjiwa said after a careful observation of the application, he had decided that the girl’s testimony to be given behind closed doors.
“I premise the ruling of the court on the provision of section 36 subsections 4 (a) and (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“The evidence of Ese Oruru will be taken in private and in chambers, excluding all other persons other than the prosecution, the accused defendant counsels, top prison officials and any other if the accused person does not object.
“It is only the evidence of the victim, Ese Oruru, that will be taken in private while the main trial will be in open court; the defence counsel have failed to show what injury or harm the accused person, Yunusa Dahiru will suffer on account of private hearing,” he said.
The prosecuting counsel, Kenneth Dike, said he was delighted with the ruling.
“We are sitting for the constitutional right of the victim, Ese Oruru, and we want fair trial for the interest of justice,” he said.
The defense counsel, Kayode Olaosebikan, described the decision of the court as nothing unusual.
On Yunusa’s bail conditions, Mr. Olaosebikan said they were having challenges to meet the conditions, and disclosed that they had filed a motion to the court to review the bail conditions.
“The court is asking us to bring sureties who are residents in Yenagoa; so, it has been very difficult and challenging to us to bail Yunusa,” he said.