By Kemi Yesufu
The family of late student of Federal Government College Gboko Benue State, Miss Ochanya Ogbanje, on Monday issued the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu a two-week ultimatum to arrest a certain Victor Ogbuja fingered for the rape and eventual death of the teenager.
Elder brother of the deceased, Mr. Ameh Ejekwonyilo, who issued the ultimatum on behalf of his family at a press conference held in Abuja, announced that should the police fail to apprehend Victor, who has been on the run since Ochanya died within two weeks, his family will lead a protest to the Louis Edet House headquarters of the Nigerian police.
Ejekwonyilo wondered why the IGP had failed to act on the legal advice issued by the Ministry of Justice, Benue State with the number: MOJ/LEG/3DR/39/100 and dated January 10, 2018 , stating that Victor and his father Andrew should be prosecuted for sexually abusing Ochanya leading to her untimely death.
He said: “Since Ochanya’s painful experience in the hands of the suspects, and subsequent tragic death two years ago, Victor Ogbuja has been on the run and has continued to evade arrest not because he is skilled in doing so but rather due to clear indifferent attitude of the police towards the matter.
“We arrive at this conclusion based on the fact of the overwhelming Legal Advice indicting Victor Ogbuja from the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Benue State to the Benue State Commissioner of Police. From the Legal Advice, the police authorities ought to have declared Victor Ogbuja wanted and wage a national manhunt to apprehend him. As we speak, this has not been done and the young Ogbuja has therefore remained an obscure fugitive possibly living secretly secured somewhere and quietly committing more sex crimes until luck will again run out on him”.
“In the Legal Advice marked: MOJ/LEG/3DR/39/100 and dated January 10, 2018, the Attorney General stated in part: “Arising from the health condition of the deceased (Ochanya) 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 Section 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Revised Edition (Laws of Benue State) 2004 has been made out against the above named (Andrew Ogbuja) and he shall be prosecuted accordingly. Efforts should be made to arrest Victor Ogbuja who is still at large, for justice to take its course”, he further said.
Speaking of behalf of the Federal Government College Gboko Old Students Association, Dr. Ngozi Akpala, reiterated the importance of arresting Victor Ogbuja as well as seeing to the timely conclusion of his father and co-accused trial.
She noted that the timely trial of the accused in a case that caused outrage across the country will go a long way in serving justice for the Late Ochanya’s family and also help in breaking the culture of silence around rape and sexual abuse.
Also speaking at the media parley, #Justice4Ochanya Campaigner and Founder of Make A Difference Foundation Mr. Lemmy Ughegbe stressed the importance of arresting and arraigning the second accused, Victor Ogbuja.
“It appears that after two years of inaction of the police we can rightly say that the police and the Inspector-General of Police is aiding and abetting the continued escape from justice of Victor Ogbuja”, Ughegbe said.
Gender and Child Rights Activist, Ms. Wanda Abe who also spoke at the media briefing stressed the need for security agencies to prioritize the timely prosecution of rape cases, saying, “We are here to say ‘enough is enough’ with the laxity displayed by the IGP on the case of Ochanya, especially with regard to arresting Victor Ogbuja who has been identified as one of those who abused Ochanya”.