Gender & SGBVNews

Ochanya: Family Wants IGP To Order Arrest Of ‘Fugitive Suspect’ Samuel Obande

The family of late Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, the 13-year-old girl who died in 2018 after being allegedly abused by a father and his son for five years while she lived with them has asked Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to order the arrest of the son who has been on the run.

She died of Vesico Vaginal fistula (VVF) and other related health complications arising from the five years of sexual molestation by the father and his son.

Andrew Ogbuja, the father who is also a lecturer at Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, and his fugitive son, Victor were fingered in continuous sexual abuse of the teenager in 2018. 

While Ogbuja has been remanded, Victor has since gone into hidden, forcing the family of the deceased to call on the police chief to order his arrest to face the music.

In a renewed quest for justice for late Ochanya, John Ameh, her elder brother in an interview with journalists last week said the police has not been sincere with the handling of the case.

Ameh said the inability of the police to arrest Victor and bring him to answer for his crime since 2018, suggested that there is some high level of complicity by the Benue State Police Command, which he said may have received the blessings of the Inspector General of Police.

He disclosed that Benue State Attorney General has legally advised the police to declare Victor Ogbuja a wanted person.

HumAngle gathered that the family of Ochanya has since drawn the attention of the Inspector General of Police to death threats from the family and political associates of the detained lecturer.

The family said it would be expecting the IGP to give the arrest order within two weeks, noting that it would be left with no option than to mobilise to the Force Headquarters in Abuja to demand the arrest of the suspect if the IGP failed to act.

“If the police fail to heed to this advice or affect the arrest of Victor Ogbuja before the expiration of the two weeks ultimatum, the family members, a coalition of some civil society/human rights and the Gboko Old Girls Association of the FGGC Gboko, will be compelled to visit the Police headquarters in Abuja to register their protest and grievances,” Ameh said.

It will be recalled that several interest groups and civil society organizations within and outside Benue State in a bid to draw the attention of relevant authorities and well-meaning Nigerians have staged a protest in Makurdi the Benue State capital since October 2018 to demand justice for the late Ochanya and also called for accelerated hearing of rape cases in the state.

Responding to one of such protests and demands in the state, Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, Northcentral Nigeria, and Benson Abonu, the deputy governor have at separate occasions condemned the act publicly and described the behaviour of the lecturer and his son as shameful and deserving of nothing less than appropriate punishment for the perpetrators.

In 2019, Felicia Ogbuja wife of Andrew Ogbuja was also arraigned on a two-count charge for allegedly failing to protect the 13-year-old Ochanya under her watch.

Ogbuja was charged the court by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The Agency accused her of aiding the persistent rape of Ochanya through her silence after the crime was brought to her notice.

Oyikowo Oko, Vice Principal Academics, ECWA Secondary School Makurdi,  decried a situation where matters of this nature linger for a long period of time, such that the initial awareness people have on the matter, and the readiness by concern people to stand up for the victim began to decline.

She told HumAngle that persons who are found guilty of rape in some Asia countries are castrated as a punishment.

“We better introduce this in Nigeria so that ladies, girls and women will rest,” Oko said.

It would be recalled that after Ochanya’s death, Victor Ogbuja fled and went into hiding but the father, Ogbuja was arrested and currently remanded in prison custody pending his trial.

Ogbuja who was initially arraigned before a magistrate court on allegation of rape had his case transferred to the State High Court by the state prosecutors who amended the charges after the late Ochanya was certified dead by medical practitioners.

Meanwhile, Ogbuja pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.

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