The family of late Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje and Old Students Association of the Federal Government Girls College, Gboko, Benue State, have said that they have not given up in demanding justice for the victim despite pressure on them to drop the case.
The 13-year-old girl, who died on October 18, 2018, was allegedly molested, defiled, drugged and abused from age five until her death by her 52-year-old uncle, Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor.
She died shortly after she fell ill to a disease later diagnosed as Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and was buried on November 2, 2018.
One of the victim’s brothers, Ameh Ejekwonyilo, who spoke with SaharaReporters in Abuja, said the family would not back down in demanding justice for Ochanya irrespective of pressure from any quarters.
He expressed concern and worry at the lukewarm attitude of the Nigeria police in apprehending Victor, one of the prime suspects in the case still at large.
He said, “One thing is clear in the Ochanya case that justice must be served no matter how long it takes and the authority that is mandated to ensure the prosecution of the suspects must show commitment and desire to see the case to its logical conclusion.
“It is still an issue that one of the prime suspects in the matter, who is Victor Ogbuja, son of the lecturer Andrew Ogbuja, is still at large since this incident happened. That is the source of concern for us as a family and what that means is that the police authority should be able to declare him wanted and fish him out from where is hiding, so that he can answer the allegations that have been made against him.
“But for the police not to do anything about it shows the commitment has not been seen on the part of the government.”
Ejekwonyilo called on the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to deploy more resources towards apprehending the fugitive and bringing him to justice.
On her part, President, Old Students Association of Federal Government Girls College, Gboko, Benue State, Tonia Edi-Lawani, said the association would not rest in their quest for justice for the victim.
She said police had questions to answer for not being able to live up to expectation in getting the suspect arrested.
She said “They have not seen him and I think there is prant in that. I don’t know how difficult it is to get that young man arrested.
“There is pressure on the family for them to drop the case and resolve it but the brother of the girl is saying no. He told us how they have been sending text messages to them to drop the case.
“We as old students of FGGC, Gboko, are backing him up in that aspect that there must be justice for Ochanya.
“We are hoping the judiciary will not throw us to the door as it were because there have been series of adjournments. We don’t know how much longer they are going to adjourn the case.”
Since Ogbanje’s death, there have been a series of protests by various civil society groups calling for justice for the victim across the country.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons had on November 23, 2018 arrested Felicia Ogbuja, aunt of the victim, for conspiracy and having knowledge of the repeated rape of the late teenager without reporting to the appropriate authorities.
The trial of Mr Andrew Ogbuja, who is being held in Makurdi Prison, is still going on while the prosecution had started calling witnesses.