Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Knights of Saint Mulumba (KSM) Nigeria, has suspended one of its members, Sir Andrew Ogbuja from the order following his alleged involvement in the rape and subsequent death of 13-year-old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje.
Ogbuja, a lecturer at Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, and his son Victor, a final-year student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, allegedly raped late Ochanya for three years while she lived with them.
The girl, a relation of the lecturer’s wife and a JSS 1 student of Federal Government College, Gboko, Benue State, allegedly died at Benue State Teaching Hospital from complications arising from over three years of sexual abuse by Sir Ogbuja and his son.
Though the matter is in court, the KSM at its 39th Supreme Council Convention ending on Sunday in Awka the Anambra State capital, announced the suspension of Ogbuja from the order because it is a highly disciplined organisation.
Announcing the suspension in his address to newsmen during a press conference, the Supreme Knight, Brother Diamond Ovueraye said: “We are firmly of the belief that evil thrives when men and women of goodwill keep silent. We have made several publications, in the past eight months, the latest being “Justice for Miss Ochanya Ogbanje.”
“We are a highly-disciplined organisation and we demand the highest decorum from our members, as we guard our image jealousy. We made this publication to state clearly our strong abhorrence for rape, domestic violence, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and our commitment to upholding the sanctity of life in all its ramifications.
“This case is subjudiced, but we have in the interim, suspended our member pending the determination of the court case. We pray that justice prevails.”
Meanwhile, the organisation whose theme for the convention is: “Deepening Christian spirituality for peace: trends, prospects, and challenges,” has expressed worry over the nation’s politics and appealed to Nigerians to be wise as they go to the polls in February next year.
Ovueraye said: “In the midst of intractable insecurity, raging ethno-religious conflicts, pulverizing poverty, palpable injustice, dilapidated infrastructure, worsening unemployment, and nose-diving economy, Nigerian atmosphere is nevertheless, feverishly charged with politics, because of the election coming up in February 2019.
“We are all experiencing heightened political activities as the candidates of the various political parties, have emerged and campaigns have started, in one of our earlier publications: “Your vote, your power.” We challenged Nigerians to seek out and vote those politicians who command the qualities best suited to unify and grow our country, rather than further divide it, to heal the wounds of our nation as opposed to deepening its injuries, and to secure for the next generation, a legacy of choices based on informed awareness rather than one of the reactions based on unknowing fear.
“But what we see and hear is rather a decline in civility and bipartisanship and a rapid increase in hostility between those who have differing opinions. This we observe has led to the alienation of the public in governance which jeopardizes democratic participation.”
Speaking on what they called the harsh economic situation in Nigeria, the knights said, it was regrettable that “as the earning power of Nigerians nose dives, their financial commitment – rent, school fees, prices of foodstuff, hospital bills, transportation costs, etc rise astronomically.”
They called on the government to think outside the box to pay living wages to work Nigerians as that would help in the fight against corruption, warning that “a hungry nation is an angry nation.”