…Uncle: The God she served to the end won’t allow her killers to go scot-free
By Ozioruva Aliu
THE purported gang-rape and murder of 22-year-old Miss Uwaila Omozuwa in a church near her family house where she had gone to read has continued to attract condemnation and a call on the security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
Uwaila was a 100-level student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
There was massive peaceful demonstration in Benin-City, led by the President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Danielson Akpan, and the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of UNIBEN, Comrade Benjamin Egwu.
While condemning the rape and murder of the undergraduate, Egwu called on the National Assembly to make capital punishment the end result for convicted rapists just as he advocated for improved security system across the country.
He said: “Government should improve on its security system. For instance, if we had CCTV where this incident happened, to get the perpetrators will be much easier.
“We know government has several challenges, but the security sector should be looked into critically.
“There are security personnel attached to that area and we are having interstate lockdown, so are they saying these culprits will just travel out of this state?
“We demand that the penalty for rape cases should be death sentence, it should no longer be business as usual; it should be capital punishment for rape cases.
“We want justice for Uwa. There are numerous similar cases that have been swept under the carpet; this must not follow the trend because Uwa could be me, Uwa could be my sister, Uwa could be your daughter.
“Until justice is served, students of the University of Benin will not rest, until justice is served, Nigerian students will not rest, until justice is served, every other person out there that cares should not rest.
“Our own sister, our course mate, our reading mate, Miss Vera was raped and murdered, she was moved to the University of Benin teaching Hospital, the hospital management gave her the necessary attention but she couldn’t survive and gave up on the 30th of May and we started online protest and other schools like UNILAG, OAU, AAU, Auchi Poly have all joined in the mass march to condemn this act.
“The police have assured us that they are doing everything possible; we understand that police are not magicians but with their technical knowhow they can do the right thing.
“With the solidarity, other schools, today, 4th of June, were in the streets with hundreds of our colleagues and I want to give credit to Honourable Dennis Idahosa who is representing Ovia Federal Constituency where our school is located, he joined us in the march.
“Then we had the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Bamidele Danielson Akpan, who was also with us in this struggle.
“So we are not alone, our demonstration is to show that our loss is not going to be in vain.
“I am not issuing a threat to the Federal Government, I am not issuing a threat to IG, but we are saying that whatever that is needed to be done should be done swiftly.
“We have marched today being 4th of June 2020, but if the only thing we keep hearing is that we have suspects with us who are cooperating, Nigerian students might take the next step which the state might not like.
“Police must do the needful; we are not going to relent, hitting the streets today is just to show signal that the University of Benin condemn rape, we are in solidarity with the family of the deceased.”
Also the uncle of the deceased, Victor Iyamu, called for justice for his niece.
“We stayed together for a long time, she was born and she grew up under me because I was staying with them; it was her mother who took care of me, so I was like an elder brother to her.
“She was a nice girl, very quiet ad intelligent. It is a touching story, her death is a big loss to the family but we want justice to be done in this case because these criminals are still out there and, if they are not brought to book, they will still commit other crimes, but, by the grace of God, the God that my sister served till the day she was killed will not allow them go scot free.
“They committed this crime in the presence of God, in the house of God because she had been going to that church to read, to study close to five years now”
Although it is generally agreed that rape has become so rampant in the country, there are no official figures to determine how deep the problem is in Nigeria.
The dust on the Benin-City episode was still to settle when, last week, news broke that another lady, Barakat Bello, was raped and stabbed to death in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society organisations, at the weekend, claimed that over 80 girls and women had been raped in Nigeria between January and May, this year.
The coalition, led by ActionAid, spoke during a protest against rape at the headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Abuja on Friday.
In the following pages, a gender activist, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, who is also the First Lady of Ekiti State, and other activists diagnose rape, concluding: We are under siege.