Justice Aliya Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday granted an application by lawyers to Ese Oruru, requesting that the young girl’s evidence be taken in camera.
In delivering the ruling, Justice Nganjiwa cited several authorities affirming that once the court is satisfied with the facts before it, it can make arrangement for any case to be held in private.
The judge noted that in the opinion of the court, the accused would lose nothing, if the evidence of the alleged victim were taken outside the public glare.
He held that subject to the provision of the relevant laws, cases are to be held in open court, noting however, that the judge or magistrates may also use his discretion if in the opinion of the court, the subject is below 18.
According to the judge, the court can also protect victims, including those of rape and child trafficking that fall in that category.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 be taken in private and in the court chambers. The application hereby succeeds,’’ Ngajiwa said in his ruling.
Ese, 14, was allegedly abducted and unlawfully taken to Kano by the accused, Yunusa Dahiru, a Kano indigene, resident in Bayelsa. She was subsequently impregnated, in a case that has recently drawn both national and international attention.
Meanwhile, the accused lead counsel asked the court to vary his bail conditions since he was finding it difficult to meet them several weeks after he was granted bail by the court.
But before adjourning to the June 2, 2016, Nganjiwa said his attention had not been drawn to the application, noting that the request would be argued on a later date. The application was however opposed by Ese’s lawyers.