Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, yesterday, remanded, Mrs. Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja at the Federal Prisons, Makurdi, for negligence, over the rape and death of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje by her husband and son, Mr. Andrew Ogbuja and Victor Ogbuja, respectively.
Ochanya died in October 2018, from complications arising from the sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of Ogbuja and son.
Ogbuja is a senior lecturer at the Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, while his son, Victor, who is now at large, is a final year student at the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi.
Mrs, Ogbuja, 43, a staff of Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, was arraigned by the Federal Government through its agency, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), on a two-count charge in the suit marked: FHC/MKD/CR/12/209.
When the charges were read to her, Mrs. Ogbuja pleaded not guilty.
Consequently, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Swanta Bossan urged the court to remand her in prison; pending commencement of trial.
However, the defence counsel, Mr. David Ojile, prayed the court to admit his client to bail, and argued that the offences for which she is being tried are bailable. He drew the court’s attention to his client’s April 5 bail application.
After listening to the submissions of counsel in the suit, the trial judge, Justice M. O. Olajuwon, remanded Mrs. Ogbuja in prison custody. pending when she meets her N6 million bail bond.
“The defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with sureties in like sum. The sureties must be civil servants not less than grade-level 12. They must own properties within the jurisdiction of this court.
“The sureties must submit letters of introduction from their Head of Department to the Court Registrar. They must submit the Certificates of Occupancy of their properties, which must be verified by the Court Registrar. The defendant will be remanded in the Federal Prison, Makurdi, pending when she fulfils her bail conditions,” Justice Olajuwon held and subsequently adjourned the case till May 10, 2019, for trial.
Ochanya’s death provoked national outrage and demonstrations across the country, with calls from rights activists for Ogbuja and Andrew’s arrest and prosecution . Ogbuja has been remanded at Makurdi prison (where his wife has now been remanded).