Ochanya: Benue Arraigns Senior Lecturer Over Rape, Death Of Teenager

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The Benue State Government has arraigned Mr Andrew Ogbuja, a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, who was alleged to have raped to death 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje.

Mr Ogbuja, 54, was arraigned on Thursday, nearly one year after Ochanya’s death from complications said to have resulted from her prolonged rape by the suspect and his son, Victor.

Ochanya died on October 17, 2018.

On the other hand, Victor who is the suspect in the case is now at large and is yet to be arrested or declared wanted.

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During proceedings at the Benue State High Court in Makurdi, four charges bordering on rape and murder were read to Ogbuja and he pleaded not guilty.

Following his not guilty plea, the prosecuting lawyer and deputy director of the Benue State Public Prosecution, Mr P Ukande, urged the court to remand the defendant and fix a date for trial.

The defence lawyer, Mr Abel Onoja, said he was not against the application for trial.

He, however, prayed the court to make an order to compel the prosecution to ensure that the medical experts named in the suit were physically brought before the court to testify.

“My Lord, I have a motion which seeks to compel the prosecution to produce medical experts who have been mentioned in the proof of evidence to be put on notice as to their physical appearance in court, so that they can testify when the trial commences,” Onoja said.

In his response, the prosecuting counsel said it was “premature to come up with such a request, given the fact that the trial has not fully commenced.”

The trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, agreed with the prosecution and overruled the defendant’s application, saying “it is premature.”

The court then adjourned the case until November 14 for the commencement of trial.

Court one of the charge read, “That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your son who is now at large between 2013 and 2015 at your residence in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court agreed to do illegal acts, to wit: severally rape one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje from the age 7 to 13 years when she was placed under your care and same acts were done pursuant to the said agreement and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code, CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004.”

Count Four also read, “That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your son who is now at large between 2013 and 2015 at your residence in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court intentionally caused the death of one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, a minor, aged 13 years placed under your care and lived with your family in that between 2013 and 2015 when she was between 7-13 years old, you raped the said Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje severally as a result of which she died in October, 2017 of sexual abuse related disease and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 222 of the Penal Code CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004.”

Ochanya: Court Remands Wife Of Lecturer Accused Of Raping 13-Year-Old

Ochanya: Court Remands Wife Of Lecturer Accused Of Raping 13-Year-Old

 

The Federal High Court in Makurdi has remanded, Mrs Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja, the wife of the lecturer accused of raping Ochanya Ogbanje in Benue State.

The trial judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon, remanded Mrs Ogbuja at the Makurdi Prison for negligence over the alleged rape and death of the 13-year-old victim by her husband and son, Mr Andrew Ogbuja and Victor Ogbuja.

Ochanya died in October 2018 due to complications arising from the alleged sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of Ogbuja and his son.

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Mr Ogbuja is a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, while Victor, who is at large, is a final year student at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.

Mrs Ogbuja was arraigned by the Federal Government through the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on two counts.

Count one read, “That you, Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja (Female) 43 years of Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Benue State, sometime between 2014 and 2018, in Ugbokolo, Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did omit to take action against the sexual exploitation of one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje (Female) 13 years by your husband, Andrew Ogbuja and your son, Victor Ogbuja, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 13 (4) (b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”

The second count also read, “That you, Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja (Female) 43 years of Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Benue State, sometime between 2014 and 2018, in Ugbokolo, Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did keep, detain or harbour one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje (Female) 13 years, knowing that she is likely to be sexually exploited by your husband, Andrew Ogbuja and your son, Victor Ogbuja, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 15 (b) of the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”

Mrs Ogbuja, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges after they were read to her.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Swanta Bossan, urged the court to remand her in prison pending the commencement of her trial.

But the defence counsel, Mr David Ojile, prayed the court to admit his client to bail.

He argued that the offences for which she was being tried were bailable and drew the court’s attention to his client’s bail application dated and filed on April 5, 2019.

After listening to the submissions of counsel in the suit, Justice Olajuwon remanded Mrs Ogbuja in prison custody pending when she meets her N6 million bail bond.

She said, “The defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with sureties in like sum. The sureties must be civil servants not less than grade-level 12.

“They must own properties within the jurisdiction of this court. The sureties must submit letters of introduction from their Head of Department to the Court Registrar.”

The judge also ordered the sureties to submit the Certificates of Occupancy of their properties, which must be verified by the Court Registrar.

She, thereafter, adjourned the case till May 10 for trial.

The news of Ochanya’s death in October 2018 sparked widespread outrage and demonstrations across the country, with calls from human rights activists for the arrest and prosecution of Mr Ogbuja and his son.

Although Mr Ogbuja has been remanded at the Makurdi prison, Victor is reportedly still at large.

At Least 300 VVF Patients Receive Free Surgery In Niger State

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At least 300 women who suffer from Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) in Niger State have received free surgeries.

The free surgery initiative is led by the wife of the state governor, Dr Amina Bello.

The Stigma

While the state government says it is making efforts to reach out to as many victims as possible, Mrs Bello says many of them hide away because of fear of being stigmatized.

She told journalists in the state that, “One of the most significant challenges is that we are not able to access a lot of the women who have it.

“We actually go into the villages to look for them but a lot of them are hiding because this is a problem where women are stigmatized, they hide away from society so getting the women to come out is one challenge”.

VVF is a condition in which a woman is unable to control the passage of urine caused by an extension between the bladder and the vagina.

Medical experts identified prolonged labour as one of the causes of the condition and also lack of access to basic healthcare facilities especially in rural areas.

Early Marriage

Another major cause is the early marriage of girls mostly forced out of school either due to poverty, religious or cultural beliefs.

The government, however, says it is addressing the challenges.

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Mustapha Jibril, noted that the government’s key focus is on the revitalization of primary health care systems among other things.

He said, “The governor of Niger State has taken primarily the revitalization of healthcare systems as his major focus and what we have been trying to do is to increase the number of what we refer to as skilled birth attendants.”

The Commissioner for Education in the state, Fatima Madugu, also noted that the government is addressing the issue of early girl child marriage through a school enrollment drive.

Justice For Ochanya

More activists across the country have continued to call for the education of the girl child to avoid instances where they are forced into early marriages or situations that expose them to the risk of sexual violence.

The calls have been intensified in the past few weeks following the case of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje, who died after complications from VVF.

She was said have been raped continuously for three years by her uncle who was a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Andrew Ogbuja, as well as his son.

Some of her family members who spoke to Channels Television raised the issue of poor quality of education, noting that the need to access proper education was part of what led to her leaving the community in the first place to live with the relatives.

Ochanya was buried on Friday at her hometown, Ogene Amejo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, amidst tears and grief.

The family, as well as the National Council Of Women Society, have continued to call for justice for the victim.

Rape Victim, Ochanya Ogbanje Buried Amidst Tears

 

13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje, who died on October 17 after being raped allegedly by a lecturer of the Benue State Polytechnic, Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, has been buried.

She was buried on Friday at her hometown, Ogene Amejo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, amidst tears and grief.

Some of her family members who spoke to Channels Television raised the issue of poor quality of education, noting that it was part of what led to her leaving the community in the first place.

The 13-year-old died on October 17 after complications from Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) as a result of her ordeal – an incident that sparked outrage and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice.

The girl who is said to be a cousin of the lecturer’s wife was allegedly raped by the lecturer for the three years she lived with them.

She was a Junior Secondary School 1 student of the Federal Government College, Gboko, Benue State, at the time of her death.

Calls For Justice

Speaking to Channels Television, her elder brother, John Ameh, asked government at all levels to address the social problems that push children into the arms of wicked relatives.

The family, as well as the National Council Of Women Society, have also sustained their call for justice for the victim.

They also called for the provision of quality education for rape victims.

Ochanya’s Death: Court Remands Lecturer Accused Of Raping 13-Year-Old In Prison

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A Makurdi Chief Magistrate court has remanded Mr Andrew Ogbuja, the lecturer accused of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old minor, Miss Ochanya Ogbanje, in prison till November 29.

Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim made the remand order on Thursday when he declined to entertain the matter for lack of jurisdiction to hear the charge of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide preferred against the accused by the Nigerian Police.

The 13-year-old died on October 17 due to Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) complications as a result of her ordeal, sparking outrage and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice.

The girl who is said to be a cousin of the lecturer’s wife was allegedly raped by the lecturer for the three years she lived with them.

She was a Junior Secondary School 1 student of the Federal Government College, Gboko, Benue State, at the time of her death.

Meanwhile, the family of late Ochanya Ogbanje and the National Council Of Women Society have sustained their call for justice for the victim.