A Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, on Thursday sentenced Mrs Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja to five months without an option of fine, for negligence over the alleged rape and death of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje by the defendant’s husband and son, Mr Andrew Ogbuja and now fugitive son Victor Ogbuja.
Our correspondent reports that the accused, Andrew Ogbuja, a senior lecturer at the Department of Catering and Hotel Management in Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo and his son, Victor Ogbuja, a final year student at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, were alleged to have serially raped the deceased victim for over five years, resulting in the illnesses which later led to her death on October 18, 2018.
In a twist of fate, the State High Court sitting in Makurdi discharged and acquitted Andrew Ogbuja the accused lecturer who had remained in prison custody, for want of evidence.
Reacting to the judgement, Gender Activist and Executive Director, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI) Elizabeth Jeiyol in her assessment said: “The contradictory judgments has offered us a clue on how we can take this case forward. Why is Felicia Ogbuja sentenced, when her husband has been discharged?
“ I call on women to be more proactive and ready to swing into action without any sentiments, because it is the right of the child to be protected against abuse.”
The Executive Director, Men Against Rape Foundation, Lemmy Ughegbe said: “It is ironic that the trial court will discharge Andrew Ogbuja on account of no evidence, while the federal high court has sentenced Felicia Ogbuja, his wife on account of neglect and compromise”
“We will take the case from there and demand for what is right. The federal high court has proven that the lives of our children matter,” he added.
Children’s rights campaigner Josephine Habba who is the National Coordinator Jireh Doo Foundation said “The whole thing was fishy, and needs serious investigations to unveil the truth and administer justice for the late Ochanya”
Late Ochanya’s caregiver, Evangelist Enuwa Soo expressed gratitude that a closure had been brought on the matter:
“We are grateful that despite the injustice against Ochanya, there are people who still stand for the truth. The judge at the federal high court has done well, and we are able to go home with a smile, knowing that the truth shall prevail at the end of this.”
Ochanya’s elder brother, John Ameh is optimistic, he said “The truth will surely prevail, no matter how long it takes, and no matter all efforts to sweep it under the carpet.”
The deceased’s mother, Rose Abah, had taken Ochanya to reside with the Ogbujas at their residence. They lived with the deceased at a location said to be located on a street not far from Emmanuel Primary and Secondary School where Ochanya obtained her primary education in Ugbokolo, Benue State.
Ochanya, who was a JSS1 pupil of the Federal Government Girls College Gboko in Benue State, died on October 17, 2018, of complications from alleged serial rape by Mr Ogbuja and his fugitive son. Mrs Ogbuja is said to be Mrs Abah’s blood relation.
Mr Ogbuja was arraigned on four counts of sexual abuse of the late Ochanya.
The father and son allegedly abused the late Ochanya while she was resident with them. But the son, Victor, disappeared after police started a manhunt for him and his father over the case.
Medics later diagnosed Ochanya Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) attributed to serial rape allegedly by the two men.
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