Nigrians have called for swift dispensation of justice for the alleged rapists of Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, a 13-year-old girl who died as a result of complications of vesicovaginal fistula (VVF).
Ochanya was allegedly raped by her stepfather, a lecturer of Benue State Polytechnic, Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor.
Dressed in black shirts carrying placards with various inscriptions, the protesters made up of civil society organisations and rights activists, urged the Ministry of Justice to bring the perpetrators of the act to book.
Speaking at the Unity Fountain on Thursday, October 25, 2018, Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru, the country director of Global Rights, accused the federal and state government of not doing enough to address the issues of rape and child molestation.
“When you are born till when you die, you are out of the radar of the Nigerian government. When our children are born, all the government recognizes them with is the number on their birth certificate,” she said. “If the die, do not go to school, sexually or physically abused, become slaves in their own country, the government is not bothered. Is that the social contract that you signed with your government?
“Ochanya is you, she is me. They’re women in this crowd who were raped during childhood and are continually raped in their country. One in every four girls, one in every ten boys are raped. Most of their violators are their own caregivers not strangers or demented people on the street but those who the child call brother, father, uncle. Our government is aware of this statistic but does nothing about it. If you die tomorrow like Ochanya’s mother, your daughter or son is in as much danger as you are.
“I left my daughter sleeping to come here and I cannot imagine that her father or uncle or caregiver would rape her and get away with it. No more! If our children are broken or destroyed before their sunrise, what future is there for our country? A generation that has lost everything has nothing more to lose will pulldown this country right in our eyes. We must have a responsible government and become a people who care for our own. We are as weak as our weakest link,” she stated.
Ngozi Ikenga, chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Abuja chapter, called for the implementation of the Childs Right Act across Nigeria to curb the menace of child abuse.
Coordinator for #Justice4Ochanya, Great Felix, urged the Ministry of Justice to expedite action and ensure that justice is served. “Injustice to one is injustice to all,” Felix added.
Director of litigation, Emmanuel Omonoho, assured the protesters that matter “must be prosecuted to the logical conclusion”.