By Constance Meju
Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje
National attention has been focused on Benue state since news broke of the dastardly and horrific sexual violation of a 13 year-old girl, Ochanya entrusted to the care of an aunt, by the aunt’s very educated husband and knight of the Catholic Church. As anger boiled over her abuse, the employers of the violating uncle announced his suspension from service. Many are calling for his head and that of his undergraduate son, gradual murderers of the innocent girl.
Very discerning Nigerians have been asking where the Lady Knight, her aunt was when all the drugging and raping over a three-year period were taking place. It is the silence of the woman, a mother also that frightens me. She is not the only woman who has been silent in the face the violation of the girl-child in that state. Many such happen almost daily and in other parts of the country. Terrible as it is, many women to avoid trouble within and scorn outside, turn the other way pretending that all is well.
Ochanya has proved that all is not well with that approach.
Laura Nwadike, Facebook commentator has sounded this note of warning to mothers.
“Mothers, sisters, wives, please let’s be on the look out for pedophiles as they ar now everywhere in our midst. Let’s not save a fickle and destroy a child.
Ochanya is gone, likewise so many others. Fathers now sleep with their children. Mothers put your eyes down and cry out to avoid a national disgrace like Ohanya’s Aunty who may have been keeping quiet probably to save her family name. Most importantly, please train your children; stop giving them out to predators”.
Add to that, stop child marriage! I was shocked to learn from an aunt that as last as last year, a girl-child living with her daughter in Enugu aged 12 years who was in school, was forcefully married off when she went home for the holidays. Too bad! And we have churches and big civil society women activists from Benue? What is happening? How can this be going on in a state where a distinguished senator like David Mark, bigwig politicians like Gemade, Audu Ogbe, etc. are from? What are the law enforcement agencies doing? What about our leave no child behind in education policy? Is it a mere slang?
In the spirit of Ochanya please end all abuses of the girl-child. That way beyond bringing the violator family to justice, Ochanya’s death would not have been in vain.