Peter Duru, Vanguard, April 28, 2022
A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, Thursday acquitted Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue state, of the charge of conspiracy, rape and death of Miss Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13-year-old school girl, in 2018.
However a Federal High Court in Makurdi, in a separate case, Thursday convicted the lecturer’s wife, Mrs. Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja, for negligence in the rape of the deceased who lived with her before her demise.
Mr. Ogbuja and his fugitive son, Victor, were allegedly fingered in the serial rape of the deceased until she took ill and died at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi where she received treatment for two months before her death on October 17, 2018.
The Benue State government, on October 10, 2019 had arraigned the 54-year-old Mr. Ogbuja before the Makurdi High Court on charges of criminal conspiracy and rape leading to Miss Ogbanje’s death
Delivering judgment in the case Justice Ityonyiman held that the prosecution failed to prove the four-count charge preferred against Mr. Ogbuja.
However, in Mrs. Ogbuja’s case which coincided with that of her husband, the presiding Judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajunwo, held that the defendant failed in her duty to protect Miss Ogbanje from “being sexually abused by her son, Victor.”
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, NAPTIP, had dragged Mrs. Ogbuja before the court for negligence leading to the rape and death of Ochanya.
Justice Olajunwo held that “Ochanya was being abused by the son of the defendant, but the defendant who owed the deceased girl the duty of care to ensure that she was protected from such an act, failed in doing so.
“I hold that the defendant is guilty as charged contrary to Section 314 of the Criminal Code.” Justice Olajunwo sentenced her to five months imprisonment without an option of fine.