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When Ochanya the ‘Queen of women,’ died a sex toy



When Ochanya the ‘Queen of women,’ died a sex toy

…from brutal sexual assault by father and son


Ochanya is an Idoma indigenous name meaning ‘Queen of Women.’ The name entails joy, pride in womanhood and portrays queenly attributes.
It’s a rare name for a female. Any girl given that name is seen to be full of grace and her future is considered very bright and expected to be a leader among women when she grows up.
But this is not the case of 13-year-old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje, a secondary school student, whose desire to grow up into adulthood was brutally snatched from her. Today, Ochanya is presently lying six feet under the ground.
Ochanya died after months of battling with Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) and other health complications. She had been allegedly repeatedly defiled by her guardian, Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor. The young girl passed away on October 17.
Ochanya was buried in her village at Ogene Amejo Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State. Her burial was attended by human rights activists, girls’ rights advocators, rights lawyers, and traditional rulers and civil and socio cultural groups in Nigeria.
Recalling Ochanya’s last moments, Mr. Olakunle Peter of the Child Protection Network said the lecturer was 51-year-old and was the Head of Department, Catering and Hotel Management at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.
He said: “Mr. Andrew Ogbuja and his son, Victor Inalegwu Ogbuja, a final year student of Animal Production, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, had been consistently molesting Ochanya since she was nine years old until she was 13. Father and son took turn on her every night.”
Peter explained that Ochanya started living with this family after her mother died and her father remarried. He alleged that the little girl became a sex-toy for father and son as soon as she started living with them.
“The girl became an object of sexual satisfaction for the randy lecturer and his son, who would occasionally drug her before molesting her back and forth. She was threatened and told that death would visit her if she reveals her ordeal to anyone. She would repeatedly take ill, but it was difficult for hospitals in Ugbokolo to detect exactly what was wrong. Occasionally, she would even collapse,” Peter said.
In February 2018, Ochanya once again collapsed; this time, she became bedridden for two months. She was terribly sick and couldn’t go to school.
In June, a caregiver, who runs an orphanage in Otukpo, picked an interest in her pitiable health status and decided to take her to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, where it was revealed that she was being sexually abused, leading to damage, which caused her to lose control of her organs. She used to defecate and urinate on her body.
Before she succumbed to death, Ochanya revealed how long the sexual molestation had been going on and how she was repeatedly threatened. It was learnt that her father, who lives in their village, doesn’t have financial muscle to seek justice for his daughter.
The case was reported at the police headquarters in Makurdi which led to Ogbuja’s arrest. The case was charged to court while Ochanya continued to struggle for life in the hospital. At the court, the man was ordered to be remanded pending the next adjournment in September. The son, Victor, was also expected to be arrested, but was said to be on the run. But the father was soon granted bail.
On the next adjournment, lawyers to Ochanya couldn’t make it to court and the case was further adjourned till November 4.
The slow grinding of the wheel of justice on this case has made many activists to seethe, asking what the heck is wrong with the justice system. This was even as these activists argued that in a saner clime, the lecturer should have been asked to keep off campus pending conclusion of trial and his son suspended until conclusion of the court case.
Following Ochanya’s death, rights groups in Benue State and other parts of the country staged a peaceful protest to draw the attention of the government and the world to the vulnerability of children, especially female children to rapists.
Proffering solution to increasing menace of child rape in Nigeria, Peter said: “There must be a lot of awareness to the general public not to engage in such act. Perpetrators of such abuse must be sentenced to life imprisonment. Government should ensure every household has a child protection policy. Early sex education for children is key. Churches and mosques should give room for child protection focus days. Schools Counselling Unit should be made more operational. Regular updates of our Child’s Right Laws and Child Protection Policies in all states of the federation. Report suspects, so that children will know that they are special and loved.
“Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies is also important. There should be creation of local department of children and family services and also toll-free emergency contacts numbers.”
A 500-man march by rights groups was held at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on October 23 to the offices of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Justice, police headquarters and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), with the hastag #Ochanya to register their grievances with the world and relevant agencies that this evil act must not go unpunished.
President of the Benue State chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Professor Magdalene Dura, petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Okon Etim Ene, alleging culpability of both father and son in Ochanya’s death. The police are said to be on the manhunt for Victor.
FIDA called for the immediate re-arrest of the two men who reportedly jumped bail, to face criminal offence for the offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Culpable Homicide.
Dura said: “Benue FIDA is committed to getting Justice for Ochanya through legal process.”
It was learnt that Ochanya was born a sickly child to a widow, Rose Abah, though out of wedlock, but her biological father had been absent through her life.
Ochnaya’s mother, Rose, and Ogbuja’s wife and Victor’s mother pists, are described as cousins.
Chronicling the event that led to Ochanya’s death, Dura said: “In June 2018, a case of rape was reported to FIDA Benue involving 13-year-old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje. The suspects were named as Andrew Ogbuja (father) and Victor Ogbuja (son). Ochanya was at this time suffering from VVF as a result of the rape which had been ongoing for over two years. Victor Ogbuja in particular, also indulged in anal sex with Ochanya.
“On the 8th of August, FIDA Benue took the victim, her mother, Rose Abah, and her caregiver, Evangelist Margaret Soo (founder of Restorer of Paths Care Foundation located in Otukpo, Benue State) to the Family Unit of the Police State Command, and made a complaint of rape against the two suspects.
“The first suspect, Andrew Ogbuja, was arrested, while his son remained at large. He was arraigned before Upper Area Court 1 in Makurdi on the 13/08/18 and granted bail on the 23/08/18. On the next adjourned date, 24/09/18, the court did not sit and the case was further adjourned till the 5th of November 2018.
“Meanwhile the case file was forwarded for legal advice to the Ministry of Justice and assigned to a state counsel. FIDA Benue was able to get free treatment for Ochanya through a programme of the First Lady of Benue State, Her Excellency, Eunice Ortom, which was, ‘Free Treatment for VVF Cases in Benue State.’
“Ochanya was examined and referred to Jos Teaching Hospital for corrective surgery. However, upon further examination in Jos, she was put on drugs. Her caregiver informed the branch that she was steadily responding to the drugs. Sadly, FIDA Benue was informed by Evangelist Margaret Soo (caregiver) on the 17th October that Ochanya had died on the same day at Ultimate Care Hospital in Otukpo. (Not Benue State University Teaching Hospital as speculated).
“FIDA Benue has therefore written a petition to the Commissioner of Police for the rearrest and arrest of both suspects for the offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Culpable Homicide.”

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  1. Pingback: When Ochanya the ‘Queen of women,’ died a sex toy – Naija Curator

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