A 51-year-old senior lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Mr Andrew Ogbuja, was yesterday, remanded in the Makurdi Medium and Security Prison, for Criminal Conspiracy and Culpable Homicide.
The magistrate, Isaac Ajim, ordered for the remand of the suspect for his alleged involvement in the rape and persistent molestation of his 13-year-old ward, Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbaje, which led to her death.
When the case came up, the First Information Report (FIR), read to the accused, showed that on 22nd October 2018, the case was reported by one Evangelist Enuwa Soo of No 2/4 Potter Avenue, Otada, Otukpo local government through letter of petition to the commissioner of police, Benue State Command.
According to the FIR, on June 23, 2018, the family of one Miss Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje of Agene Amen Okpokwu LGA, aged 13, said that one Andrew Ogbuja ‘m’, a lecturer with Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo and his son, Victor Ogbuja, had been criminally having unlawful canal knowledge of her since she was living with them in their house which resulted to her been diagnosed of having VVF and other related deceases.
“Ochanya was admitted in the hospital for treatment where she later died on Oct 10, 2018 at Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi”.
The court further heard that, during police investigation, one Andrew Ogbuja was arrested for the offence while his son, Victor, is still at large, adding that the offence is punishable under section 97 and 222 of penal code laws of Benue State 2004.
The counsel to the accused, Anthony Onoja, however observed that the media have been awash with reports of his client, who has not been proven guilty, which, if care is not taken, such reports would not allow the matter to go on smoothly.
He appealed to the trial judge to protect lawyers from the hands of Journalists and caution the authority of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), noting that he has no objection over the remand of his client.
However, the judge overruled Onoja, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction and the accused was remanded at the Federal Prison, Makurdi and adjourned to the 29th of November for further mention.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the court sitting, president, National Council of Women Society, Benue State chapter, Chief Mrs Okochi, said that Benue women are in pain for what happened to late Ochanya and for what other women in the country are going through.
“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.
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