EXCLUSIVE: Ortom speaks on immortalizing Ochanya, N6.6bn UBEC fund

Governor Samuel Ortom says a directive has been issued for the process of immortalizing Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje.

Governor Samuel Ortom speaks on immortalizing late Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, N6.6bn UBEC funds

13-year-old Ochanya died on Wednesday, October 17, 2019, following complications of alleged sexual molestation by her guardian, Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor, which lasted for about five years.

Ochanya's father, Michael Ogbanje, had earlier told Pulse that his daughter relocated to the Ogbuja house seeking education due to the poor condition of the L.G.E.A Primary School, Ogene-Amejo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

Villagers say the school, which should cater for the learning need of children in the community, has remained shut down since 2011 due to the failure of past administrations to pay teachers' salaries.

At Ochanya's burial on November 2, 2018, Governor Ortom who was represented by the Benue State Commissioner for Education, Ladi Ajene, promised to renovate and rename the school after Ochanya.

Two months after the Governor's promise, villagers say no official has visited the school for an assessment of the school.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse in Makurdi, on Sunday, January 20, 2019, Ortom said the project would have began but for bureaucratic bottlenecks.

"Directive has already been given to SUBEB [State Universal Basic Education Board] Chairman for the renovation and renaming of the L.G.E.A Primary School, Ogene-Amejo," Ortom said.

"Government programmes are a process; you don't just wake up and begin to do them. My word is a confirmation of what we are doing and the process is on but there has to be due process with UBEC [Universal Basic Education Commission].

"Recently out of the Paris Club we secured, a total of N3.3 billion was sent to UBEC and we counter-fund it with another N3.3 billion so we have N6.6 billion which would be expended on renovation, construction of new buildings and other inputs for primary schools. 

"It has been captured in the progamme and the money is there. It is a matter of process and procedure. As soon as they are through, we will do as promised," he assured.

Meanwhile, members of Ochanya's family say the untimely passing of the little girl has left a vacuum in their home.

John Ameh, Ochanya's elder brother, stated this while receiving a 'Person of the year' posthumous award on behalf of the family.

While demanding the Victor's arrest and prosecution, Ameh noted that swift dispensation of justice for rape victims would help curb the menace in our society.

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