A senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic in Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja, was on Thursday arraigned before a Makurdi High Court by the Benue State Government on a four-count charge bordering on rape and murder of 13-year-old, Ochanya Ogbanje.
Ogbuja, 54, was alleged to have raped the teenager repeatedly alongside his son, Victor Ogbuja, said to be at large within a period of five years which the deceased lived with them and as a result, she developed complications that led to her death on October 17, 2018.
Daily Trust reports that at Thursday’s proceedings, the four-count charges were read to the accused who pleaded not guilty.
Consequently, the prosecuting counsel, a Deputy Director, Public Prosecution of Benue state, P. M. Ukande, urged the court to remand the defendant and fix a date for trial.
But, the defence counsel, Abel Onoja, who said he was not against the application for trial, however, prayed the court to make an order to compel the prosecution to ensure that the medical experts named in the suit are physically brought before the court to testify.
Prosecuting counsel, however averred that it was “premature to come up with such a request, given the fact that the trial has not fully commenced.”
The trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, agreed with the prosecution and overruled the defendant’s application, stressing that “it is premature.”
However, the court adjourned the suit to November 14, 2019, for commencement of trial.