Ochanya Ogbanje: ‘Three years afta her death, we still dey find justice’

By Dooshima Abu

Tears of pain and regret as Ochanya mama, Rose Abha remember di ugly memory of her pikin death

“As she dey waka come meet me for di front of her house, her waka dey slow. Her face no shine. She just dey untie and re-tie her wrapper. She smile small shake my hand as we greet. As she raise her eyes look me, I no fit tell if she dey her 50s or 60s.”

Rose Abah no go school but she bin wan make her pikin – Ochanya get education. She no know say na dat decision go change her life forever.

E don reach three years since Ochanya die and Rose say she no fit close her eye sleep for night.

“Ochanya death dey pain me well well. I dey tink di mata too much I don be like vegetable. You no see how I dey thin evriday? Even sef, if I chop, e no dey do beta tin for my bodi. I know say pikin dey die for pipo, but di way she take die, if I tink am, e dey too pain me.”

Who be Ochanya Ogbanje?

she bin testify before di court
Wetin we call dis foto, Ochanya bin testify for court on how dem rape her before she die

Dem born Ochanya Ogbanje for 2005 and she dey live with her parents and oda family members for Ogene-Amejo inside Benue state. She bi di last born of 11 children wey her parents born. She be 5 years old wen her mama, Rose and her papa Michael Ogbanje agree say e good make she go beta school.

“Ochanya na peaceful child wey love book and she love school. She sabi book and she dey do well for school before death cari am comot for my hand,” Rose tok.

“No be say school no dey for our community but di one wey dey get katakata wey make dem close am for 2011. E dey place wey no dey good for pikin dem to learn dat time. Na why we say make our pikin cari go Ugboloko”, na so Rose add.

Ochanya mama na farmer and her papa don retire. Dem yarn say dem no get money like dat but dem no dey beg to chop. Dem tok say dem dey work wit dia hands take find food put for dem table. Dem don also tok say pipo wey dey spread rumour dat time say Ochanya go do house girl work na lie dem dey lie.

Wetin happun to Ochanya?

Ochanya die for 17th of October
Wetin we call dis foto, Her grave by di house di constant reminder of her loss

Na school Ochanya find reach her aunty Felicia Ogbuja house and e first be like say evri evri dey go on well for about 4 years until di mata begin get k-leg.

Ochanya live wit di Ogbujas (Aunty Felicia plus her husband Andrew and five of dia pikin) for di same house for four years. She bin dey go school and epp wit house work.

Wen she reach age 8, tori be say her cousin Victor allegedly begin rape am and wen Victor papa, Andrew Ogbuja wey be College lecturer for Benue State Polytechnic com know, e allegedly join am dey abuse di girl.

“Na for 2012, Ochanya sickness start. We carry am go hospital for Okpoga. Na for dia we stay reach about six days and she get medical attention. As time pass, she begin dey feel well naim we waka go house. Later, di same sickness come back,” na so Rose tok.

Rose add say Ochanya no fit control her urine again as e begin dey comot her bodi just like dat and dis condition force am to wear diaper for four months but her condition no improve. She tell us say dem dey cari am go plenti hospital plus prayer house still dem no see result.

How Ochanya take die?

na her last pikin and her death pain her die
Wetin we call dis foto, Ochanya mama heart melt wen her pikin tell her about di rape

“I dey her bedside wen I see say she wan die. I no fit bear am again – My heart dey break and my life dey pieces, I no fit hold myself. I run go one toilet for di ward make I no see am as she dey breathe for di last time”, na so Rose tok as she dey cry.

As di mata don red and Ochanya sick well well, her parents tok say dem no want make she follow dem dey dia village wey no get beta hospital. So, dem cari her comot from di Ogbuja’s house to Restorer of PathCare Foundation wey dey Otukpo.

Caregiver wey also bi founder of di place, Enuwa Margaret Soo, begin torchlight di mata to see wetin cause Ochanya sickness. She follow news pipo – Pulse tok for 2018 wen she tell dem say “for di time Ochanya’s parents cari am cum for June 2018, she (Ochanya) dey very sick. Wen we begin find out wetin happun, we discover say Ochanya na victim of rape and di doctors wey dem cari her go see confirm say she dey allegedly sexually abused through di vagina and the anus. Naim we begin try our best to make sure say dem treat am,” she tok.

Ochanya mama, Rose tok say her pikin die of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) for October 17, 2018.

Justice for Ochanya


Di Benue state goment don cari di mata go court and dem bin promise di family say justice must dey for dis mata.

Afta Nigerians begin hala, Police command bin arrest Andrew Ogbuja for April 2018 on allegation of rape but dem no find im pikin, Victor since den till now.

Wen BBC Pidgin ask di Police tok-tok pesin for Benue, Catherine Anene, wetin dem know about di whereabouts of di second suspect; she say she no know and dat she go need time to check how far di officers wey dey in charge of di case don go on top di search for di suspect.

Na two cases dey ground now – one na against Andrew and di oda one na against im wife, Aunty Felicia.

Andrew don dey face trial since 2019 for di Benue State High Court. Di court say na four count charge e dey face and di charges dey based on alleged rape and culpable homicide.

Di Prosecution counsel, Peter Ukande don call all im eight witnesses and di Defence Counsel, Abel Onoja don open im own case and Andrew Ogbuja tok say im no dey guilty of any of di charges. Di court don adjourn di mata till November 12, 2021.

For di oda Federal High Court for Makurdi, Felicia dey face separate charges for negligence sake of say she allegedly fail to take action to stop the alleged sexual exploitation of di minor by her husband, and son, Victor.

Ochanya papa, Michael Ogbanje say di adjournment wey dey happun for court be like say dem dey pour pepper on top fresh wound.

“Na dis adjournment dey make me plus my wife and oda pipo dey travel from village on top bad road evritime and even sef, di money no dey for hand to continue to dey come and we no even know which day di mata go end”, Michael tok.

‘Justice too cost’

e want di judicial process speed up
Wetin we call dis foto, Ochanya papa say na onli justice fit heal di family wound

The tok-tok person for di International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) for Nigeria, Hemfan Felicity, say dem join bodi kari di accused pipo go court and by now dem think say dem for don get justice.

She say plenti tins dey happen wey don delay di case and some of dem include; di Coronavirus pandemic wey no make court sit for most part of 2020 as di world do lockdown.

She add say di plenti court adjournment follow dey slow down proceedings. Even Police take long time do dia own investigate on top di mata. Logistics wahala sef follow join di issues wey dey ground as money sometimes no dey to pay allowances to prosecutor. Money sef fit no dey to give witnesses to feed, transport and pay dia hotel bill as none of dem dey live for inside Makurdi. Na from village dem dey come.

For 2015, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) tok say one in four girls and one in 10 boys for Nigeria dey experience sexual violence before dem reach age 18. Goment for federal and state levels don dey localise di Child Rights Act since 2003. As at 2021, many state goments for Nigeria don sign am into law but di concern wey dey now na say most of dem no dey fully implement am.

As for Rose, Ochanya mama, she tok say she no go rest until she get justice.

“Dis life don tire me sef. I no see anytin wey go fit make me happy as I no see Ochanya my again. Make goment give me justice, na dat time dis mata fit stop and I go get peace.”

Source BBC Pidgin

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