A senior lecturer with the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja has been arraigned before a State High Court in Makurdi.
He is accused of allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje to death.
Ogbuja’s arraignment came nearly a year after Ochanya’s death on October 17, 2018 from complications said to have resulted from her prolonged rape by him and his son, Victor, who is now at large.
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 governt