Andrew Ogbuja, senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, was brought before the Makurdi State High Court.
He is accused of allegedly r*ping a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje to death.
Ogbuja’s incarceration came almost a year after Ochanya’s death on October 17, 2018, as a result of complications that he and his brother, Victor, were said to have caused by his prolonged rape.
The accused who was arraigned before Justice Augustine Ityonyiman of the State High Court 9, however, pleaded not guilty when the four-count charge bordering on rape and murder was read to him, according to the Nation.
The prosecuting lawyer, Mr. P. M. Ukande, Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Benue State Ministry of Justice, consequently prayed the court to remand the accused and fix a date for proper trial having pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him.
Counsel to the accused, Mr. Abel Onoja, did not oppose the application for trial and therefore urged the court to make an order to compel the prosecution to ensure that medical experts named in the suit are physically brought before the court to testify during commencement of full trial.
“My Lord, I have a motion which seeks to compel the prosecution to produce medical experts who have been mentioned in the proof of evidence to be put on notice as to their physical appearance in court, so that they can testify when the trial commences,” Onoja pleaded.
The prosecuting counsel vehemently opposed the application brought before the judge saying, “it was wrong and premature for the defence counsel to come up with such application, hence, full trial was yet to commence.”
The trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, while agreeing with the prosecution, overruled the defendant’s application, saying that, “it is premature.”
Subsequently, the court adjourned the suit to November 14, 2019, for commencement of trial.
Some of the charges read as follows:
“That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your son who is now at large between 2013 and 2015 at your residence in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court agreed to do illegal acts, to wit: severally rape one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje from the age 7 to 13 years when she was placed under your care and same acts were done pursuant to the said agreement and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code, CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004.
“That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your child who is currently everywhere somewhere in the range of 2013 and 2015 at your living arrangement in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State inside the purview of this Honorable Court purposefully caused the demise of one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, a minor, matured 13 years put under your consideration and lived with your family in that somewhere in the range of 2013 and 2015 when she was between 7-13 years of age, you r*ped the said Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje severally because of which she passed on in October, 2017 of s*xual misuse related sickness and you consequently dedicated an offense culpable under segment 222 of the Penal Code CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004,” among different checks.