On October 18, 2018, 13-year old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje succumbed to her gruesome five-year sexual abuse and died of Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi.

According to multiple reports, she had been allegedly molested, defiled, drugged and abused for 5 years by her 52-year old uncle, Andrew Ogbuja, a Lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor Ogbuja.

On August 15, 2018, Vanguard published an article about the court case. In its report, the late Ogbaje said "It all started in 2013 when I came to live with my mother’s sister in Ugbokolo because there was no school in my village.

“When I was eight years old, the son started sleeping with me and when his sister caught him, she reported him to their father and the father scolded him. From there, the father also started sleeping with me.”

The constant rape, drugs and molestation destroyed her physical and mental health at 12

In June 2018, Ochanya got very sick. Caregiver and Founder of Restorer of PathCare Foundation, Evangelist Enewa Soo, took over her health issues after the case was reported to her. She took Ochanya to the Benue State Teaching Hospital where it was discovered stated that her health had been damaged from vaginal, anal rape, and molestation.

Vanguard quotes Soo saying, “At the time they brought the girl, she was very sick and when we began to make our findings, we discovered that she was actually raped and the doctors confirmed that she was allegedly sexually abused through the vagina and the anus by one Victor Ogbuja, her guardian’s son.

“Since then we have been trying to see how we can restore her health. We took her to a teaching hospital where series of tests were carried out and she has also been booked for Vesicovaginal Fistula, VVF, operation in Jos, Plateau State, from September 16 to 17.”

Soo also bemoaned the 13-year old’s emotional and mental depression from the constant abuse.

Soon after, on October 18, 2018, Ochanya passed away from VVF and other health complications — she succumbed to her suffering.

Her school’s alumni, like the rest of Nigeria, are rightly hungry for justice, leading to #JusticeForOchanya across social media pages.

Her uncle is a Knight of the Catholic Church and his son is a final year student of Animal Production at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi. Her aunt, Andrew’s wife, Felicia Ogbuja claims she had no knowledge of her being raped.

The ensuing court case

Rose Abah of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Benue State chapter in Ogene Amadu Edumoga, Okpokwu Local Government Area of the state, reported the matter at the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID), of the state police command.

Andrew Ugboja has since been arrested on August 10, 2018, while Victor remains at large since Enewa Soo knew of the matter. Ugboja was arraigned before Makurdi Upper Area Court on August 13, 2018, on charges of defilement of an underage girl and other charges.

At Court, Police prosecutor, Inspector Patrick Sunday said, “From the First Information Report, FIR, before the court, Mrs. Abah claimed that sometime in February, when her 13-year-old daughter was sick and admitted at Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, she told her that when she was staying with her cousin-sister, Felicia Ogbuja in Ugbokolo town between 2013 and 2015, her son, Victor Ogbuja, raped her.

“She further said that her cousin’s husband, Andrew Ogbuja, also had carnal knowledge of her.”The offence is punishable under Sections 97 and 284 of the Penal Code of Benue State 2004. Through Ugboja’s counsel, David Ojile, he volunteered to take full responsibility for Ochanya’s treatment, saying it was a family matter, pleading the court to grant him bail and let the matter be settled privately.

However, the court lacked jurisdiction, so no plea was taken. The judge, Mr. Kwen, adjourned the case to September 24.

According to Linda Ikeji’s Blog, Ugboja was granted bail, but activist, Ukan Kurugh says he was rearrested on October 23, 2018 on charges of culpable homicide (manslaughter) on Tuesday, following Ochanya’s death.

This story has sparked several reactions on social media. You can see some of them below;

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