-Groups have condemned alleged plots to free Andrew Ogbuja, who is facing trial for the rape and death of 13-year-old Ogbanje Ochanya
– The groups also alleged that a former minister of Interior Abba Moro and his aide Austin Ochiga were behind the plots to set the suspect free – According to the groups, Ogbuja is about to be granted bail due to political pressure on the trial Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim in Makurdi Human rights groups on Thursday, February 7, condemned plans to secure bail for a lecturer at the department of catering and hotel management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja, who is facing trial for the rape and death of 13-year-old Ogbanje Ochanya. The groups, Coalition of Civil Society for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption in collaboration with Network of Pro-bono Lawyers alleged that a former minister of Interior and senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue south, Abba Moro and his aide, Austin Ochiga, were behind the plots to set the suspect free Ochanya was buried on Friday, November 2, 2018, in her home town, Ogene Amejo Okpokwu local government area of Benue state after complications from Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) following rape by her uncle and his son, Victor Ogbuja in October of the same year. While the younger Ogbuja is still at large, his father, Andrew is currently being held at Federal Prison in Makurdi. Ogbuja through his counsel had also applied for a bail in a case of alleged death from rape of the teenager, a process that was rejected by the Benue state government – the prosecution. READ ALSO: NAIJ.com upgrades to Legit.ng: a letter from our Editor-in-Chief Bayo Olupohunda However, in a statement signed on Thursday, February 7, by CCSHRAC executive director of group, Isaac Ikpa, the group alleged that Ogbuja is about to be granted bail due to political pressure on the trial Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim in Makurdi. Andrew Ogbuja continually raped the teenager along with his son, Victor Source: UGC Ikpa said Moro and Ochiga are using their political connections in the state to force the judge top grant Ogbuja bail. According the group, Ogbuja is expected to participate in the forthcoming general elections in the state. The statement said: “We the Coalition of Civil Society for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption in collaboration with Network of Pro bono Lawyers hereby demand for the immediate prosecution of the perpetrators of the heinous crime against 13-year-old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, whose tragic death on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 was occasioned by obvious complications arising from the prolonged sexual molestation by the husband of her guardian, Mr Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor Ogbuja. “It is also in the light of the foregoing that we urge the trial Chief Magistrates’ Court in Makurdi to rely on extant laws to do justice in the matter. This call has become imperative owing to the circumstances of the case and the alleged interest of some highly influential politicians. Until this statement, the son of Mr. Ogbuja bail Victor, who is a prime suspect in this horrendous crime, is on the run. READ ALSO: President Buhari mourns reported deaths of supporters at APC rally “That Ogbuja got out of prison shortly after his arraignment on charges of rape in August last year, from sources was basically due to his avowed connection to a powerful political force in Benue State . In as much as these allegations are unverified and largely on reliable, we are compelled to publicly demand some clarity as to the connection of Hon.Augustine Ochiga, a Special Assistant to Mr Moro, former Minister of Interior to the matter. Victor Ogbuja, Ochanya’s alleged rapist who is currently at large Source: UGC “Hon Ochiga had been reported to have boasted that he would use his influence and connection to kill the case just as had been the case when Ogbuja was clandestinely released shortly after his remand in August 2018 a couple of weeks after his arraignment. “A similar scenario of trying to set the suspect free is again playing out but this time, it is being given a veneer of legality through the manipulation of the prosecution,” the group said. The group also added that it condemned the shoddy manner in which the Benue state government had so far handled the litigation, particularly the ongoing bail application, set to be determined on Friday, February 8. The human organisation said it is clear that justice is about to be murdered as the case has taken a trajectory designed to serve political interests in face of it. Ikpa further expressed the group’s commitment to pursuing justice for the late Ochanya while stating that the acting inspector general of police and the Benue state police commissioner must intensify efforts to arrest the fleeing Victor Ogbuja and bring him to justice. “We arrived at this conclusion based on a well-established fact of the accused’s connection to Mr Abba Moro’s Special Assistant. “We remain committed to the pursuit of justice for the late Ochanya and nothing will deter us from accomplishing that task no matter what and how long it would take,” the statement said.