In an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, an uncle to the deceased, John Ameh, who spoke on behalf of the family revealed a lot of issues surrounding the rape, ill health and death of little Ochanya Ogbanje.
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Can we have the full names and ages of Ochanya’s father and mother?
Michael Ogbanje, 72- years-old and Rose Abah, 55
What do they do for a living?
How many children do they have and what position was Ochanya?
Ochanya was their only child.
At what point did they discover that she was sick?
She took ill and was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi, in February this year. She was at the hospital for over two months where she was bedridden. It was the last health workers’ strike that pushed her out of the facility because doctors could no longer attend to her due to the absence of supporting staff at the hospital. Ochanya who battled with Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the hospital, Makurdi, after being severely abused by Mr. Andrew Ogbuja and his son, Victor. They consistently molested little girl since she was 8.
Ochanya, who had been living with this devious pair of pedophilic father and son as a result of family affinity to the man’s wife (Mrs. Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja) who is her cousin for the purpose of accessing education due to the near absence of a school in her remote village, became an object of sexual satisfaction for the pedophilic lecturer and his son. Occasionally, she would even collapse.
In February 2018, she again collapsed and this time, was bedridden for two months because she was terribly sick and couldn’t even resume school at the Federal Government Girls College, Gboko. In June, a caregiver who runs an orphanage in Otukpo picked interest in her pitiable health status and decided to take her to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, where it was revealed that she was being sexually abused on all sides and this had affected her badly causing uncontrollable defecation and passing of urine.
How did she eventually open up and to whom?
Ochanya, after serious interrogation revealed to her mother, father and other relatives how long the molestation had been going on and how she was threatened against her life if anyone got to know about what was happening. She explained that she was forced with drugs which made her not to be very conscious of what happened. For the records, she was of humble parents who are resident far in a remote village and who do not have the financial means to pursue to logical conclusion, such abuse of their daughter.
Did Mr. Ogbuja at any point, own up to the rape allegation?
No. He flatly denied it but admitted that his son (Victor) did have carnal knowledge of the late Ochanya.
What is the mood of the family as at now?
The mood of the family is that of grief and utter disbelief that the little Ochanya is no more. To say the least, the family is heartbroken!
What does the family want the government to do?
How and why Ogbuja was released after being remanded in prison still remains a mystery to the family. Remember, we had raised an alarm over the shady circumstances under which he was released from prison. Shortly after that, the rape victim died. We suspect foul play in his release. We shouted that to high heavens, but no one acted. Now the victim is dead. At the moment, we don’t know if he and his son have been re-arrested. Our appeal to the government is to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are brought to book. That is the only way the family will have some sense of closure to the painful death of Ochanya.
How far with the autopsy?
The police is the one handling the autopsy. So far, we do not know.
When will she be buried?
Arrangements for her burial are being made, and will be communicated to the public at the appropriate time.