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Opinion: Ese Oruru: A Post-Script

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Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

“If you want to know the end, look at the beginning.”–African proverb

A little over four years ago, I wrote the material below in this paper.

It was intended to speak against a national hysteria being fired by our poisonous national patents of ethnic and religious stereotypes and prejudices.

I have since followed this matter even when it threatened to disappear under our penchant for finding new causes to fight over.

Last week, there was a major development around the story.

First, though, please read my comments on the matter.

“Any responsible parent of a girl of fourteen that disappears and is then reported to be with an unknown person hundreds of miles away from home will be beside themselves with worry.

“If they also hear that she has changed her religion and is planning to marry the person responsible for her disappearance, their concerns will deepen.

“They will do everything to trace the girl and utilise every available source of redress and relief to retrieve her and get justice.

“If they meet their daughter, and then encounter difficulties in retrieving her from any quarter, they will raise their voices to the high heavens in protest.

“Everyone who hears the side of the parent’s story will line up in their support.

This is what all Nigerians have done in support of the demand of the parents, relations and the community of 14 year old Ese Oruru for her return to her home in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State from a village in Kano State where she has been for the last few months.

This universal support behind the return of Ese to her home is the only peg on which you could hang some sort of consensus.

Ese’s reported ill-advised elopement with a young man from Kano is presented as abduction, forceful detention, and conversion to Islam in many versions.

Sloppy handling and laxities in the operations of institutions with responsibilities to protect the weak and vulnerable are interpreted in other quarters as high level collusion to violate the fundamental and other rights of a Nigerian minor.

A saga that has been active for months, with many stops and gaps substantially outside public glare suddenly assumed the status of a national scandal with all the trappings and muck of our politics.

A child everyone should look at with responsible sympathy suddenly became the source of the rediscovery of all that is wrong with our politics and other values as a nation.

Ese was, a few months ago, one among millions of Nigerian children from whom you will buy pure water or snacks without a second look.

Today, she is at the center of an almighty row about faith, cultures and damaging politics.

Long after this dust is settled, this child will deal with the effects of our quarrels over her.

Whether she is a victim of childish impetuousness or adult abuse and cynical manipulation is not likely to matter.

Collectively, we would have further injured a child that ought to have been in school learning to be a responsible adult, with the support of her parents and community.

There are quite possibly many angles to this sad story that would have been permanently drowned by indignation and outrage from just about everyone who has scores to settle, or a cause to advance.

A range of persons and interests from the Emir of Kano to all Muslims and many northerners are likely to feel hard done because their status and faith are being portrayed in very bad light.

They will attempt to distance their faith from abduction, forceful conversion or marriage without consent of parents, to no avail.

Palace officials, police and community leaders will roll out all manner of evidence that they played their parts.

No one will care, after the devastating conclusions of social media warriors has reached many ears, galvanising opinions in support of a child who desperately needs to be freed from abduction and forced conversion and impending marriage.

Ese’s sojourn has attracted to the poor child an entire army of sympathisers, many of whom she does not need, and they do not deserve mention.

Minister of women affairs says Ese is a wake up call to improve the protection of women and child rights.

Hashtags in support of Ese’s return have been gaining support in social media.

Traditional and stereotype insults against people, regions and religions are being unearthed, with reminders of child marriages by prominent northerners, the Chibok girls, sponsored pregnancies, commercial baby factories and entire communities living off remittances from prostituting daughters in Europe filling all social media spaces.

In this bedlam, which says more about how we treat each other as adults than how we relate to our young, there are a few islands of sanity.

The governor of Bayelsa State went out of his way to engage governor of Kano State and the Emir of Kano, and publicly commended both for the roles they played in reuniting Ese with her parents.

The Kano Emirate Council released a measured statement distancing the Emir and the Emirate Council from accusations that they colluded in keeping Ese in Kano State, away from her parents.

On the other hand, the legion of shrill joiners piling on sensation and crude opportunism reminds us all that we are stuck in some deep gutters as far as inter-community relations go.

The Nation newspaper screamed an editorial that should lose it a substantial amount of respect.

It said: “The story which was, at press time still developing, has all the evil trappings of molestations, child abuse, sexual deviance, abduction, religious coercion, constitutional violation, a network of shadowy big men manipulating the law…”

This comment will force all people with a hint of civilised humanity to grit their teeth and read the trademark drivel rolled out routinely by Femi Fani-Kayode because it appears that he shares the same space with this newspaper on this matter.

Forgive me for giving this man who clearly needs help a few minutes of your time, but this is part of Fani-Kayode’s contribution on this matter: “The truth is that this is not a love story about two inseparable young people: it is rather a sad and tragic tale about pedophilia, child abduction, kidnapping, human trafficking, slavery, rape, impunity, wickedness, religious bigotry and ritual sex.

“Worse still, it is an unfolding drama at the end of which Emir Sanusi Lamido (sic) may well have a case to answer.

“The truth is that the little girl would have been raped over and over again and she may well have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs), Vesico vaginal Fistula (VVF) or some other strange sexual disease by now”.

There must be people who enjoy this type of delusion in print, because newspapers give it space.

But Ese does not need it.

What she needs is a quiet and productive reunification with her family, and a lot of time to sort out deeply personal issues.

What we need as a nation is to move on and find other grounds for a quarrel.

Everyone involved in this sensitive issue should examine their roles, or have them examined by those who police accountability.

Where amends or restitutions need to be made, they must be made.

Ese will develop into an adult and decide what she wants to do with her life.

The best way we can help her reach that stage without further damage is to create appropriate distance between her life and our many preferences and prejudices.”

Since this piece was published, Ese was separated from Yinusa Dahiru (alias Yellow) February 2016 and taken home with a five months-old pregnancy.

She delivered a girl three months later.

Yinusa was arrested and detained in prison custody, and has been on trial until last week when he was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A newspaper that had vigorous championed Ese’s case quoted her father as saying that an attempt was made to steal the baby at the Police Officer’s Mess in Yenagoa where mother and child were staying.

The same paper interviewed the father in 2018 during which he said all the promises for scholarship and support made by the Bayelsa and Delta State governments for Ese’s education were not fulfilled.

She is now in SS3, living away from, but being supported only by her father.

In all likelihood, Yinusa will appeal.

But the court of sectional opinion is already split right down the middle.

Champions of Ese’s case who paid for her lawyers hail his conviction as rightful vindication.

His sympathisers say he has been abandoned and betrayed by his own people who, in addition cannot raise their voices at the reported cases of Hausa children routinely stolen and taken to the East, culturally re-processed and converted.

Yinusa and Ese have played their roles as pawns, and they will continue to remind us that in most of our fights, there are no winners.

This, however, does not stop us fighting in filth.

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Dangote Refinery imports additional 11m barrels of US crude oil due to domestic supply shortage

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

 

Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals has issued a tender for an additional 11 million barrels of US crude oil over the next six months due to Nigerian crude oil producers’ inability to meet its feedstock requirements.

KANO FOCUS reports that the 650,000 barrels per day refinery has already received 9 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude from the US since the beginning of 2024 to offset unreliable domestic supplies. The new tender, closing on July 21, aims to procure two million barrels per month of WTI Midland crude for the world’s largest single-train facility located in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, for the next six months starting in August.

In a tender reported by Bloomberg, Dangote Refinery purchased five million barrels of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude for delivery in the upcoming months of August and September. Additionally, the company initiated a tender process to acquire an additional six million barrels of American crude for September.

This reliance on US crude highlights Nigeria’s challenges in meeting its own refining needs, attributed to issues such as crude theft, aging infrastructure, and underinvestment, which have led to a decline in production. In April, Nigeria’s daily output was only 1.45 million barrels, well below its capacity of 2.6 million barrels per day. The country recorded an estimated 30 million barrels underproduction in the first four months of 2024.

Dangote Refinery, crucial to Nigeria’s goal of becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, has found it necessary to import crude to sustain operations amidst insufficient domestic supply.

President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, stated during the Africa CEO Forum 2024 that the refinery will need to continue importing crude as production scales up and alternative supply contracts are sought.

“It also makes economic sense for us to tender for crude. If we could source 100 percent Nigerian crude, then fine, but we can’t wait,” said Dangote.

Commenting on the challenge with sourcing crude locally, Dangote added, “there is a bit of a problem for us to source the entire volume of crude that we’re looking for domestically because we need different types and mixes. Unless crude production improves – which we pray and hope for – we need to go elsewhere.”

The refinery took in more than 41 million barrels of feedstock in the first half of the year as it completed test runs and gradually increased processing rates, tanker-tracking data show. Of that, about a quarter has been American supply.

According to CAS, the refinery took delivery of 11 WTI cargoes, or 9 million barrels, between February and May, contrasting with around 18 million barrels of Nigerian crude deliveries.

Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), NNPC has struggled to meet its 300,000 barrels per day obligation to the refinery due to operational constraints.

International financial analytics corporation, S&P Global, recently described the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals company as capable of resolving Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) issue and its huge pressure on the local Naira currency, while also catalysing the country’s economic development.

S&P Global, headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, disclosed this during an onsite visit to the refinery as part of its sovereign credit ratings assessment of Nigeria. The team from the international rating agency were accompanied by officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

S&P noted that the refinery would bolster Nigeria’s oil sector and, more importantly, also have a positive impact on its growing economy.

Currently operating at 350,000 barrels per day capacity, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Devakumar Edwin, recently disclosed that the refinery would scale up to at least 500,000 barrels per day capacity by July/August, commencing the refining of petrol and ultra-low sulphur diesel.

He noted that the refinery, designed to process a wide range of crudes including various African and Middle Eastern crudes, as well as US Light Oil, conforms to Euro V specifications. In addition, it is designed to comply with US EPA, European Union (EU) emission norms, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms, and the African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

While noting that most refineries were built by foreign companies, he said it is a thing of pride that a Nigerian company designed and built the world’s largest single-train refinery complex while acting directly as its own Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor. The refinery which also incorporates a self-sufficient marine facility capable of handling the world’s largest vessels, can meet 100% of Nigeria’s requirement of all liquid products (Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene & Aviation Jet) and have surplus of each of these products for export.

 

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UNICEF Commends Governor Yusuf for Education Prioritization in Kano State

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

In a gesture of appreciation, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has praised Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State for his steadfast commitment to enhancing the education sector within Kano.

During a cordial meeting at the Kano Government House on Thursday, the Country Director, Mrs. Christain Munduate, extolled the enduring partnership between UNICEF and Kano State, advocating for its reinforcement to yield greater mutual benefits and collaborative opportunities.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Governor’s spokesperson Mr. Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa and made available to journalists in Kano.

Mrs. Munduate reiterated UNICEF’s unwavering support for the state in both the Health and Education sectors, emphasizing the imperative for Kano State to fulfill its counterpart funding obligations for the Malnutrition project.

In response, Governor Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf called for increased support and goodwill from UNICEF and other donor agencies, highlighting Education and Health as pivotal realms necessitating additional assistance due to their fundamental importance in societal progress.

Governor Yusuf pinpointed Malnutrition and poliomyelitis as pressing health concerns, particularly affecting children and other vulnerable demographics.

Detailing the notable achievements in the education sector under his administration, Governor Yusuf underscored his government’s dedication to providing essential infrastructure, educational resources, modern classrooms, teacher training programs, and fostering an enriching environment conducive to learning.

Furthermore, in the realm of healthcare, Governor Yusuf emphasized the state’s endeavors to ensure complimentary medical services for women and children, overhauling of hospitals, and furnishing healthcare facilities with requisite equipment.

Assuring the visiting delegation, Governor Yusuf expressed the State’s commitment to doubling the counterpart funding contribution compared to Jigawa State for combating the pressing issue of Malnutrition.

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NiMet predicts morning thunderstorms in Kano on Friday

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted morning thunderstorms on Friday over parts of Kano State.

KANO FOCUS reports that NiMet’s weather outlook released on Thursday in Abuja envisaged thunderstorms over parts of Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Bauchi States on Sunday.

The agency anticipated thunderstorms over parts of Katsina State, Zamfara, Sokoto State and Kebbi.

The agency urged the public to take adequate precautions as strong winds may precede the rains in areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur.

NiMet advised Airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

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