Abduction is criminal
Last week, it was the story of Ese Oruru that dominated the public space. The young girl from Bayelsa State was said to have been abducted by a teenager, Yunusa Dahiru (alias Yellow), in August last year from her community to his native Kano State.
A number of things happened thereafter with allegations and counter-allegations. There were mudslinging and tantrums. Even the voice of the girl was silenced in the cacophony of opinions and slant analyses. What could easily have been a criminal case was given ethnic and religious colourations, the two contours that politicians exploit for cheap gains in our complex national life. Two youngsters romantically connected have inadvertently pitted two regional divides against each other.
Filtering and altering
Any time the media sensationalise issues, it is the definition of media scholar Dennis McQuail, popularised by Littlejohn and Foss in their book, “Communication Theory”, that comes to my mind. McQuail defined the media in memorable metaphors: “Media are windows that enable us to see beyond our immediate surroundings, interpreters that help us make sense of experience, platforms or carriers that convey information, interactive communication that includes audience feedback, signposts that provide us with instructions and directions, filters that screen out parts of experience and focus on others, mirrors that reflect ourselves back to us, and barriers that block the truth.”
It was glaring that the media once again played true to the last three conceptualisations by screening out part of our experience on the whole saga and focusing on others, reflecting to us that Nigerians still remain ethnic/ religious bigots and blocking certain truths that may be unraveled at the court (for instance, Yunusa was not a stranger to the Orurus having served them for 10 years, according to his father).
Besides, much of our media violated the Code of Ethics of the Nigerian Press Council for journalists (No. 6), which stipulates that “a journalist should refrain from making pejorative reference to a person’s ethnic group, religion, sex or to any physical or mental illness or handicap.”
Making Ese win
It is gratifying that the young girl has been united with her family and the legal process will take its full course, based on the assurance given by the police. But that is by the way. As the Yoruba say that the person digging the grave is the one helping the dead, the one weeping is only making a noise, what is important is the education of the young girl. This is where the government, corporate bodies and non-governmental organisations come in. Ese should be the ultimate winner, not those who feast on her story to vent their bottled up prejudice.
Releasing her from her alleged abductor should therefore not be seen as an end in itself. It should be a means to opening a new chapter in her life. She needs all the support under the sun.
The first victim in a saga like this is common sense. The quantum of bile spewed around is not good for us. After the euphoria of rescue, the suffering of the poor girl can only make sense if Ese’s future is secured. Her future security lies in her access to standard education after the dust settles.
If charity must begin from home, the Bayelsa State Government should give Ese a scholarship up to the University level. Her education is paramount and that is why it should be taken seriously by all of us. The attention should be focused on helping the family of the young girl so that ultimately, what she has passed through would be transformed to an opportunity to a new lease of a better life now than her previous.
Re: Missed opportunity, lost humanity
Humanities assist us in identifying social problems and how to solve them based on acceptable norms. Truly, science has influenced the world through breakthroughs and innovations that have eased man from physical stress. Both courses have helped humanity but humanities come first in terms of managing man himself as the source of cililisation. – Aina Akindele Oyebanji, Ketu, Lagos State.