A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court has arraigned a lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja, for sexually violating a 13-year-old girl.
The 51-year-old lecturer and his son are said to have defiled his wife’s niece, Elizabeth Ogbanje, resulting in her death last Wednesday.
When the case came up, the first information report (FIR), read to the accused, showed the case was first reported on October 22 by one Enuwa Soo of No2/4 Potter Avenue Otada Otukpo Local Government Area.
Mrs. Soo made the report through a petition to the commissioner of police, Benue state command.
The petition indicated that the accused person and his son, Victor Ogbuja were having unlawful carnal knowledge of the deceased which resulted to her having VVF and other related complications.
“Ochanya was admitted in the hospital for treatment where she later died on 17-10-2018 at Federal Medical Center Makurdi,” a part of the report read.
As a result, the accused person was promptly arrested by the police while he son, who also participated in the alleged crime, fled.
The police said the offence is punishable to section 97 and 222 of Penal Code Laws of Benue State 2004.
But counsel to the accused, Anthony Onoja, said his client, who he said has not been proven guilty, has been going through media trial for days, adding such development was capable of affecting the trial in court.
He appealed to the trial judge to protect him and his client from the hands of journalists and members of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
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Mr. Onoja, however, said he has no objection over the remand of his client.
However, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim reminded Mr. Onoja that no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction and therefore, ordered the accused to be remanded at the Federal Prison.
The case was adjourned to November 29 for further mention.
Outside the courtroom, the police had a hard time restraining angry women, who besieged the court to protest the alleged brutish action of the lecturer and his son.
The women who chanted songs demanding for justice bore placards bearing inscriptions like, “Ogboja must die,” “Ogbajo must be hanged with his son,” “Say no to the dehumanisation of the girl child”, “Ogbajo’s wife is a disgrace to the womenfolk.”
Some men also came to the court premises spotting black t-shirts with an inscription: “Justice for Ochanya is justice for other children.”
Speaking to journalist shortly after the court sitting, the President National Council of Women Society (NCWS) Benue State chapter, Mrs Okochi said women are in pains for what happened to late Ochanya and for what other women in the country are going through.
She insisted that Mr. Ogboja, his son as well as the wife must be made to face the wrath of the law.
“We are not going to take it lightly, we need justice in this case and l beg the police to go after the son and his mother and arrest them, prosecute them especially the mother, who harboured late Ochanya for five years,” she said.
“Her husband and son were using her sister’s daughter through the anus and virgina, leading to VVF which killed her and she kept quiet,” Mrs. Okochi said.
The NCWS leader called on Nigerians to rise up and ensure justice for the deceased, saying, “Thank God before the girl died, she confirmed that it was the man and his son that raped her to death.
“She said each time she wants to tell people, they threatened to kill her. They must not go free.”