Ochanya Rape: NHRC Receives Preliminary Report

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has condemned the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ochiga, by her guardian, Andrew Ogbuja of Benue State Polytechnic and his son, Victor Ogbuja.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, of the commission, Mr Lambert Oparah and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the incident led to the death of the victim.

Ochanya’s death attracted nationwide protests from various advocacy groups calling for justice to be meted on the two perpetrators.

Opara said the commission had requested the Inspector General of Police , and the Benue Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice to ensure that perpetrators of the dastardly act were brought to book.

He said the commission had received preliminary report on the matter, adding that the act was inhuman and therefore condemnable.

“The commission has received the preliminary report on the matter conducted by the Benue office of the commission.

“The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu who was visibly angry, expressed shock that the little Ochanya, a minor, could pass through the sad experience in the hands of the supposed guardian.

“The executive secretary promised that the commission will work with relevant authorities including the Benue State Ministry of Justice and the police to ensure that the culprits are prosecuted in accordance with the law’’, he said.

Opara said the commission had directed the Benue office of the commission to hold a watching brief on the matter throughout the prosecution of the matter in court.

He urged the police to intensify efforts to apprehend one of the suspects, Victor Ogbuja who was still at large.

He further said the commission would monitor all the processes and mount advocacy around protection of young persons and women from rape and other related sexual assaults.

He said the body would also create awareness of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.

Opara also said the commission was working assiduously to promote legislations that protect the rights of the girl-child.

The Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, noted that the Child’s Rights Act passed since 2003 had so far been adopted by 24 out of the 36 states in the country.

According to him, the commission will be carrying out another round of nationwide sensitisation campaign on Child’s Rights Act 2003.

He said such step would help to scale up awareness on the rights of the child, including sexual violence and other related human rights issues.

He noted that there were inadequate reportage of rape cases and other forms of sexual violence due to fear of stigmatisation.

Opara urged victims, their relations, and members of the public to always come forward and report such cases to the appropriate authorities so as to ensure accountability for such violations. (NAN)

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