The International Ford Foundation Programme Alumni Fellowship of Nigeria (IFFPAN) has condemned the death of 13-year old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje.
The deceased died following severe health complications associated with Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) as a result of alleged series of vaginal and sodomic abuse from members of her extended family.
In a statement signed by IFFPAN’s President, Obo Effanga and its Coordinator, Social Justice Project, Mr. Kabiru Abass, the association laid responsibility for ensuring justice and prevention of similar abuses on the doorsteps of the Minister for Justice, Minister for Education as well as the Inspector General of Police.
Ochanya, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 2 student of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Gboko, Benue State, died recently and reports indicate that she was a victim of serial sexual abuse from age eight until her death by her aunt’s husband and son (Andrew Ogbuja and Victor Inalegwu Ogbuja) who have now been charged to court, following public outcry.
The statement insists that the incident is a reflection of child abuse, gender based violence (GBV) and injustice within schools, homes and communities and should serve as wake up call for all to act to stop this menace and ensure justice.
IFFPAN submitted that many GBV such as this are not reported or even when reported do not lead to adequate prosecution and justice.
They therefore demand speedy prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators; development of GBV reporting and feedback mechanisms; establishment and strengthening of child protection networks in each state to deal with the issues of child abuse and school-based gender violence.
The alumni association thus called on government to provide medical, psychosocial, legal and counselling services for victims of rape and other gender-based violence.