The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Benue State, Mr. Mike Gusa, on Tuesday told a Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court that there is a prima facie case against Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, over the alleged rape and death of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje.
Ogbuja, a senior lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo and his son, Victor Ogbuja, a final year student at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurd, allegedly raped Ochanya for years
Ochanya died in October last year, due to complications arising from the alleged sexual assaults she suffered at the hands of her guardian, Ogbuja and his son.
It would be recalled that Ogbuja was re-arrested and re-arraigned before the trial Magistrate, Mr. Isaac Ajim, following the death of the 13-year-old, a development that triggered outrage across the country.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, the police prosecutor, Mr. Edward Imo, informed the court that the legal advice was out, adding that it indicated that “there is a prima facie case” against the defendants.
According to the legal advice, the Attorney-General, appealed to the police to intensify efforts to arrest the second defendant, Victor Ogbuja, who has been on the run since the news of Ochanya’s death broke.
The legal advice marked MoJ/LEG.3CR/39/100, dated January 10, 2019, was addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, Makurdi, by the Attorney-General of the state.
It said: “Arising from the health condition of the deceased due to multiple rape and sexual abuse resulting to grievous injuries confirmed by medical reports, it is our legal opinion that a case of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death under Sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Revised Edition (Laws of Benue State) 2004 has been made out against the above named accused person and shall be prosecuted accordingly.
“Efforts should be made to arrest Victor Ogbuja who is still at large, for Justice to take its course,” the Justice Commissioner appealed.
On his part, counsel to Mr. Ogbuja, Mr. Edward Onoja, filed an application for bail, which the court slated for hearing on February 5, 2019, and subsequently adjourned the suit till March 13 for further mention.
On hand at Tuesday’s proceedings, was a team of female lawyers under the auspices of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), led by Mrs. Priscilla that was in court to observe proceedings for the prosecution.