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Rape, Ochanya’s death and need for justice

The rape to death of a 13-year-old pupil of Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Gboko, Benue State, Elizabeth Ochanya, by her aunt’s husband and his son, Andrew Ogbuja and Victor Ogbuja, respectively, has now brought to the fore the danger of rape and other social evils in the society.

Elizabeth Ochanya , who was said to have battled Vesico Varginal Fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, finally died at the Ultimate Care Hospital, a private hospital in Otukpo, Benue State.

Her death followed allegations of severe and continuous rape by her aunt’s husband and his son. It is instructive to note that the aunt was the late Ochanya’s guardian.

Ochanya lived with the Ogbujas since she was five-year-old. But the situation took a frightening dimension when the minor, who was then eight-year-old, was first raped by her guardian’s son in 2013.

As is the modus operandi with such of his ilk, Victor warned Ochanya never to disclose the infamous action to anyone. The sordid and horrific carnal knowledge of the minor went on for a long time as Victor slept with Ochanya from 2013 to 2015 until he was caught by his younger sister.

The sister dutifully reported the matter to their father, thinking that Andrew would act as locos parentis to Ochanya and ensure justice.

But the randy father, after scolding his son, took his place and continuously raped Ochanya. He was said to have sexually abused the poor girl from both the vagina and the anus.

The despicable acts from both the father and his son was Ochanya’s lot until she was diagnosed of having Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other related deceases.

When all hope seemed lost, her rescue came, albeit a bit late. Ochanya was forced to confide in her mother in June this year, who queried her sister and her husband. As expected, the couple denied the allegation.

After five months of undergoing treatment for VVF, Ochanya gave up the ghost on October 17, 2018,

We feel more saddened that her death was caused by VVF and other related diseases that arose from the continuous sexual abuses by a 51-year-old lecturer in the Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Benue State Polytechnic, Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor, a student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Markurdi.

We are of the opinion that the incidences of rape have continued to occur because the country is not doing enough to curb it. The act in itself is bad, but worse when minors are the victims.

To imagine the mental torture the deceased went through in itself should be a torture to sane minds, especially women.

One however wonders how these things happened under the roof of Mrs. Ogbuja without her knowledge. We are suspecting a foul play and wickedness on her part and we are of the view that she also has serious questions to answer. She should not be left out of the crime.

We also seize this opportunity to condemn the “loud silence” of victims and relatives when a rape has taken place. If rape is a crime of aggression with the sole aim of having sexual intercourse without the consent of the other person, then we must not keep quiet.

The shame and stigmatisation of rape victims have been going on for long and it has not done the womenfolk any good.

Statistics of incidences of rape cases available has shown that if the country (especially the lawmakers, security agencies, Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations) do nothing drastic, soon the magnitude will so increase that every home will become a potential victim.

The time for parents to stop taking things for granted is now. From the look of things, our children are no longer safe with uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and even people of the same faith. It is Elizabeth Ochanya today, who knows who would be next victim?

To have carnal knowledge of a little girl through the anus and vagina since she was eight is unimaginable and a crime against humanity, especially the womenfolk. We urge the judiciary and security agents not to sweep this very case under the carpet.

The Judiciary, Benue State Ministry of Justice, Civil Society Organisations and all stakeholders must ensure that the randy lecturer and his son (now at large) are brought to justice. They must ensure that Andrew Ogbuja, his wife and son are charged before the proper court, prosecuted and sentenced accordingly.

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