Court acquits lecturer of r@pe, m#rder of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje; convicts his wife for failing to protect the child from him

A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, on Thursday acquitted Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, Benue state, of the charge of conspiracy, ra@pe and de@th of Miss Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13-year-old schoolgirl, in 2018.

The decision contradicts another Thursday’s verdict of the Federal High Court in Makurdi, in a separate case, which convicted Mr Ogbuja’s wife for negligence over the child, after establishing that he r@ped the minor. The federal court jailed Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja five months without an option of fine for failing to protect the child from her husband, but the state High Court, about the same time, on Thursday, exonerated the man.

Mr Ogbuja and his fugitive son, Victor, who are both maternal relations of the deceased, were accused of serially r@ping her until she fell ill and subsequently d#ed. Ochanya was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months before she d#ed 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 r@pe leading to Miss Ogbanje’s de@th. Delivering judgement on the case, on Wednesday, the judge, Augustine Ityonyiman, of the Benue State High Court in Makurdi, held that the prosecution failed to prove its four-count charge against Mr Ogbuja.

The judge held that police investigators failed to subject the defendant to medical examination in order to match his specimen with the findings in the medical reports that were presented before the court.

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