The deceased, Miss Vera Uwaila
She was my best student – Secondary School teacher
We want justice, she must not die in vain–father
By Ozioruva Aliu
It was a pitiable sight at the Ogbeide Street off NNPC Depot Fence Road residence of the family of a 22-year-old female student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omozuwa, who was raped and murdered last week. Her mother, in between sobs, narrated the pains the family was going through over the death of Uwaila.
She was reportedly gang-raped and beaten by her assailants who inflicted deep head injuries on her and abandoned for dead. The church security guard was said to have discovered the incident when he went to collect the keys to the church and was told that somebody had earlier come to collect the key and was inside the church.
It was gathered that for the past five years, late Uwaila had been using the hall of the Redeemed Christian Church of God situated at Osa-Amadasun Street, Ohovbe Quarters which she attended as her reading house and the church was about five minutes walk from her residence. On a fateful day, May 27th, she also went to read in the church hall since schools had been shut because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tragedy, however, struck when according to her mother she waited for her to return but did not see her daughter and she was getting worried when a church member called her that there was an emergency in their church. She said she was shocked and devastated when she saw the mangled body of her daughter in the hospital.
A visibly distraught Mrs Joy Omozuwa narrated the incident of her second child to Saturday Vanguard: “She is my second child, the most gentle of all my children and was always interested in her book. What happened to my daughter is so painful; I never knew this was how she will die. On that fateful day, May 27th, I left home with her and she went to the church to read. For over five years now, she had been going to the church to read, so, that day she did the same thing.
“When the schools were shut as a result of COVID 19 pandemic, she had been going there to study because she said she didn’t want to have any carryover in her examination. I waited till in the evening when I normally called her if it was getting late although she didn’t have a fixed time that she would come. Sometimes she came home at 5 pm, sometimes 6 pm or 2 pm depending on her mood.
“By 5 pm, I tried to call her but her line was not going through. There was a boy who was also a member of the church staying near the church whom she said sometimes came around and she had told me that I should not panic if I didn’t see her on time but unfortunately,
“I didn’t have the boy’s number so I was becoming worried. I saw off a member of our church who came to visit me and by the time I returned, I missed three calls from Mrs Osula who is also a member of the church and stayed close to the church. She asked to come to the church quickly and when I got there, I was told that Uwa had been rushed to the hospital.
“They said they met her with her eyes blindfolded, her mouth tied and her hands tied behind her like a criminal. She was untied and when they noticed that she moved her hand, they quickly took her to Enoma hospital. When I saw my daughter, there was blood all over her body, the white top she wore had turned red with her blood; I looked at her ear, there was blood coming out of it as well as her nose while she had a swollen eye.
There was a very big cut on one part of her head and another deep cut close to one of her eyes. She was also raped. So, I had to sum up courage, I started cleaning the blood from her body and they were giving her drip while she was breathing intermittently and at times she would stretch her body.
“My husband came and said he had gone to the scene of the incident and that the bloodstain was too much, so we had to move her to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH. When we got there, the doctors told us that it was a 50-50 chance for her to survive because the injury was much but that they would try their best. But she did not make it and she died on Saturday.”
Uwaila’s father, Elder Johnson Omozuwa was unhappy with the slow response of the police when he reported the matter at the station. He said; “I want the authorities and security agencies to dig into the root of this matter, I don’t want my daughter to die in vain. I went to report the matter at the police station that night but police refused to go with me to the scene of the incident till the following day. I saw my daughter in a pool of blood and I ran to the police but the police refused to go with me. A neutral team should be sent by the police to investigate this matter.
“I will remember my daughter as a disciplined child. She wrote UTME three times and she never scored below 240, she wanted to read medicine and the third time she chose nursing but she was given Microbiology. She didn’t want to take it but I advised her to take it being a brilliant girl.
Her teacher in secondary school, Mrs Edith Otoibhi, the Vice Principal, Gloria Group of Schools, Benin, said she taught the deceased for six years. “She (Uwaila) was my student. I taught her home economics from JSS-1 to 3 in 2008, and I taught her CRS from SS-1 to 3 at Gloria Private School. She was the best student in my subjects. She was very disciplined, very intelligent. You cannot beat her in any subject in the class. She came first in most of the subjects. She was very nice and friendly. She hardly had problems with anyone in the classroom. She was also very honest and truthful.”
When Saturday Vanguard visited the church, some parts of the building had been vandalised and the signpost pulled down and there was no official of the church around to talk to.