Ochanya: Alleged rape victim’s family cries for justice as prosecution slows

Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbaje

The family of Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and eventually died, has called for justice three years after their daughter’s death.

Ochanya was sent to her aunty Felicia Ogbuja’s house by her parents who had hopes she could get educated by staying with the family and doing house chores.

The teenage girl lived with the family for four years without any issues until she was eight years old.

According to reports, her cousin Victor began to rape her; and when Victor’s father Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at Benue State Polytechnic, found out he too allegedly joined to abuse the girl.

Ochanya fell ill in 2012. At some point, she was passing out urine without control.

Founder of PathCare Foundation in Otukpo, Benue State, Enuwa Margaret, told Pulse in 2018 after taking up Ochanya’s case that it was confirmed she was abused through the vagina and the anus.

Ochanya’s mother Rose Abah said her daughter died of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) on October 17, 2018. She told BBC Pidgin that she has been a shadow of herself since the death of her daughter.

“Ochanya’s death still hurts me. I think about the matter so much that I now look like vegetable. You see how I grow lean every day? Even when I eat it has no effect on me. I know children die but whenever I think of how she died, it hurts me so much,” she said.

Ochanya’s father Michael Ogbanje decried the numerous court adjournments.

“The adjournments make me and my wife and other people travel from the village despite bad roads. We don’t even have money to continue going to court for a case which we do not know when it would end,” he said.

Mr Ogbuja, the lecturer, has been under trial before the State High Court, Makurdi since 2018. His wife Felicia faces separate charges for negligence. Their son, however, remains at large.

When contacted, Benue police spokesperson Catherine Anene said she needed more time to find out if the second suspect, Victor, had been found.