News The African Way

Nigerian Court Acquits Benue Lecturer Of Rape, Murder Of 13-Year-Old Schoolgirl

Agency Report

A state high court sitting in Makurdi has acquitted Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, of the rape charges against him.

The academic had been accused of causing the death of a 13-year-old schoolgirl in 2018.

Ogbuja and his son Victor, who are the victim’s maternal relations, were accused of raping her until she became ill.

Victor has been at large since the state filed charges.

Augustine Ityonyiman, the judge, ruled on Thursday that the prosecution failed to prove its four counts against Ogbuja.

Ityonyiman said police investigators also failed to subject the defendant to medical examination in order to match his specimen with the findings in the medical reports presented before the court.

The judge, in evaluating the evidence, held that two autopsy reports from the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi and the Nigeria Police Forensic Laboratory in Lagos left him in a state of uncertainty.

However, a separate case at the federal high court in Makurdi witnessed the conviction of Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja, the lecturer’s wife, for negligence in the rape of the deceased teenager.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) instituted the case.

Mobolaji Olajuwon, the presiding judge, ruled that Ochanya was being abused by the son of the defendant.

He said the defendant, who owed the deceased girl “the duty of care to ensure that she was protected from such an act” failed in doing so even when Winifred, Ogbuja’s daughter, called her attention to the sexual assault.

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