- A lecturer, Andrew Ogbuja, who allegedly raped 13-year-old Ogbanje Ochanya has applied for bail
- However, the bail application by Andrew is being objected by the Benue state government at the Magistrate Court in the state
- The state government in its objection to the application made by Andrew said the offences against the defendant were not bailable as they carry capital punishment upon conviction
The Benue state government on Tuesday, February 5, asked a Makurdi Chief Magistrates' Court to decline a bail application by a senior lecturer at the department of catering and hotel management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja.
At resumed hearing, the prosecuting lawyer, Awashima Addingi, told the trial Magistrate, Isaac Ajim that the prosecution is vehemently against the accused person's bail application.
Ogbuja is being held at the Federal Prison in Makurdi over the alleged rape to death of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje.
Ochanya died on 17 October last year due to complications arising from the alleged sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of the accused senior lecturer and his son, Victor Ogbuja, who now at large.
The late teenagers had also death provoked national outrage and demonstrations across the country where human rights activists called for the arrest and prosecution of the culprits.
Addingi who represented the state's attorney general and commissioner for justice, predicated her objection on the ground that the offences against the defendant were not bailable as they carry capital punishment upon conviction.
"Going by Section 341 of the State Criminal Code, the offences which the accused was brought to court is capital in nature; he is not entitled to bail," Addingi said.
The prosecuting lawyer further submitted that Section 35 (7) of the 1999 constitution stipulates that where there is sufficient suspicion of the commission of crime by an accused person, his right to liberty can be suspended.
She urged the court to discountenance Mr. Ogbuja's lawyer's claim that his client's case had "special circumstances" that would warrant granting the accused bail.
Addingi also noted that the legal advice from the state's ministry of justice showed that there is substantial evidence against the Ogbujas for the rape and death of Ochanya's.
In his objection, Ogbuja's lawyer, A. A. Onoja, argued that there was no valid charge against his client before the court.
He argued that the court was clothed with the requisite power to admit Mr. Ogbuja to bail.
"Our submission is that there is no valid charge before this court against our client. The only way the court can be intimidated into refusing our bail application is for the prosecution to place a charge before the court.
" We urge the court to discountenance the legal advice against our client, as it did not disclose any material evidence against him," Onoja said.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the matter to Friday, February 8, to allow Ogbuja's counsel to serve some court processes he tendered before the court on the prosecution.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a female candidate in the Kogi central Senatorial race, Natasha Akopti, on Monday, October 29, called for a review of Nigeria's social welfare policies.
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Akpoti, social reformer, and candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2019 senatorial election urged the National Assembly to consolidate on all existing social welfare policies into a comprehensive law.
Reacting to abuse of 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje, who died as a result of complications from Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) following rape by her uncle and his son, Andrew and Victor, Akpoti, said such move law would specifically create sections to address the welfare of vulnerable people in Nigeria.
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