- A 51-year-old lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo has been accused of defiling girl who was entrusted under his guardianship
- Andrew Ogbuja was said to have defiled the 13-year-old girl alongside his son, Victor Ogbuja, who is currently at large
- Pleading not guilty to the charges, the lecturer prayed the court to grant him bail to enable him settle with the victim and her family outside the court
A senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja, 51, has been remanded in prison custody for allegedly defiling a 13-year-old girl who was entrusted under his guardianship.
Ogbuja was arraigned before an Upper Area Court in Makurdi in Benue state capital city on Monday, August 13.
The First Information Report which was filed before the trial Magistrate, S. D Kwen, the lecturer person was dragged before the court for "criminal conspiracy and rape".
It was gathered that Ogbuja allegedly perpetrated alongside his son, Victor Andrew Ogbuja, who is now at large.
Ogbuja, a senior lecturer at the Department of Catering and Hotel Management in the Polytechnic, upon the reading of the FIR to him, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, admitting that the victim had been living with him since the age of five, Ogbuja told the court that he was being framed on the charges.
“I'm most surprised for being here. I was detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department from where I was brought to court today.
“It is completely a forged an arranged allegation against me. I know nothing about the charges against me,” Ogbuja said.
However, declining jurisdiction on the matter, the trial Magistrate said he wondered why a man of the accused's standing would be framed up if he had nothing to do with the alleged crime.
"I don't know how an allegation of this magnitude would be made against a man of this standing without him been involved in its commission,” the magistrate wondered.
At Monday's proceedings, Ogbuja's lawyer, David Ojile, urged the court to admit his client to bail.
The defence lawyer argued that there was no direct link between the alleged crime and his client.
In what appeared to be a contradiction to his client's plea, the defence lawyer said Ogbuja was already in talks with the victim's parents for an amicable out of court settlement.
“Your Worship, considering the nature of the offence, it's a serious one. But the allegation against the defendant is an after-thought.
“We want the court to temper justice with mercy and admit the accused to bail so that he can assist the police in their investigation of the matter.
“There is no nexus connecting the accused to the commission of the crime. Considering the status of the accused person as a lecturer, he should be released on bail.
“In addition, there is an ongoing effort from my client for an out of court settlement, so that he can foot the medical bills of the girl,” the defence counsel pleaded.
In his reaction to the accused person's lawyer, the police prosecutor, Patrick Sunday, informed the court that during preliminary investigation by the police, Ogbuja admitted that his fleeing son had also had canal knowledge of the victim.
“During our investigation, Ogbuja owned up that his son had canal knowledge of the girl. Investigation is still ongoing, and we are yet to arrest the son of the accused person. We leave it at the court's discretion to decide whether the accused would be granted bail or not,” Sunday noted.
On her part, the victim, who told the court that the Ogbuja and his son abused her several times.
When asked to narrate her ordeal by the court, she said the accused had been defiling her, which led to her been bedridden for several months.
In a similarly vein, after the magistrate asked a caregiver, Evangelist Enuwa Soo, who is currently taking care of the victim’s rehabilitation, she stated that a medical report by the Benue State University Teaching Hospital revealed that the 13-year-old's hymen had been broken.
She added that due to a prolonged sexual molestation of the girl, she had developed Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), an ailment that makes the victim to frequently urinate and defecate without control.
In a bench ruling, the magistrate reminded the defence lawyer that bail was not granted on this kind of “serious” offence. He advised him (the defendant's lawyer) to file a formal application for bail before the court.
Consequently, he remanded the defendant at the Nigeria Prisons in Makurdi and adjourned the suit till September 24, 2018, for further hearing.
“The accused person is hereby remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Prisons, Makurdi, till September 24, 2018, and the suit is adjourned accordingly,” the magistrate ruled.
The FIR with file no: CR80/2018 and dated August 13, 2018 reads: “Criminal Conspiracy and rape: on the 8/8/2018 at about 1200hrs FIDA, Benue State Chapter, Makurdi, in company of the victim's mother (name withheld) of Okpokwu LGA of Benue State, came to Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Makurdi and reported that, on the 28/06/2018 at about 1000hrs, the victim's mother reported at FIDA office Benue State Chapter, Makurdi that, sometime in 2018 February, when her daughter (name withheld) age 13 years old was sick and staying with her cousin by name Felicia Ogbuja (wife of the accused) and was admitted at Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi.
“She told her that when she was staying with her cousin by name Felicia Ogbuja of Ugbokolo Town in 2013 to 2015, the son of the said cousin by name Victor Andrew of same address had canal knowledge of her at different locations. She further stated that the husband to her cousin by name Andrew Ade Ogbuja also had canal knowledge of her without her consent between 2013 to 2015, which is the cause of her sickness.
“During police investigation, the said Andrew Ade Ogbuja, age 51 years old was arrested for committing the offence while the said Victor Andrew Ogbuja is at large. Contrary to Section 97 and 284 of the Penal Code law of Benue State 2004.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University who was accused of demanding sex from a female student in order to improve her marks has allegedly gone into hiding.
During a visit to his office on Thursday, April 12, he was absent; and a lecturer in his department who spoke on the condition of anonymity reportedly disclosed that since the audio recording of the incident went viral on social media, the man had been in hiding.
NAIJ.com gathers that the lecturer further disclosed that the accused professor was also not at his residence; and that his church members had been paying visits to his wife, to offer sympathy.
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