Ochanya: CSO, FGGC old students charge Benue govt to appeal rape case

A leading organisations working against rape in Nigeria on the aiges of Make A Difference Initiative (MAD) and Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Gboko Old Students Chapter have asked Benue State Government to Appeal the court judgement of Benue State High Court in Makurdi, which acquitted Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, of raping and causing the death of Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13-year-old schoolgirl in 2018.

The Benue State High Court in Makurdi, had acquitted Ogbuja, of raping and causing the death of Ochanya in 2018. 

The decision contradicts another Thursday’s verdict of the Federal High Court in Makurdi, in a separate case, which convicted Ogbuja’s wife for negligence over the child, after establishing that he raped the minor.

Addressing a press conference Thursday in Abuja, the executive director, MAD, Lemmy Ughegbe, also requested that Benue state governor Samuel Ortom should grant a fiat so that a private legal practitioner who is an expert in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to handle the case.

Ughegbe said the judgement was a travesty and miscarriage of justice, adding that it is a blow to all activists seeking to fight for victims of SGBV.

He also urged the state government not to allow the 90 days period to elapse before seeking redress in Appeal Court.

“No child is safe until every child is safe. The fight for Ochanya is a fight for the society and all children in Benue. It will be a fallacy to say Ochanya didn’t speak or she is not alive to tell her story as a trending video contradicts such statements,” he said.

Ughegbe stressed the need for justice to be served to honour the deceased and serve as a deterrent for other perpetrators.

On her part, the president, FGGC Gboko Old Students FCT Chapter Ngozi Azodoh reiterated their trust in the Nigerian judiciary that justice will be served.

“We are interested because we are mothers and we see Ochanya as our little daughter,” she stated.

She, however, commended the efforts of the state government to ensure that the matter is taken to court.

The federal court jailed Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja for five months without an option of fine for failing to protect the child from her husband, but the state High Court exonerated the man.

Ogbuja and his fugitive son, Victor, who are both maternal relations of the deceased, were accused of serially raping her until she fell ill and subsequently died.

Ochanya was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months before she died on October 17, 2018.

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