The rape and murder of Miss Vera Omozuwa, 100-Level Microbiology student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), who went to read in a Redeemed Christian Church parish in Benin City, has sparked an outrage from the university community, students and the country at large, reports IFUNANYA OSAKWE (UNIBEN).
HER ambition was to graduate from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) as a microbiologist and looked forward to a life of bliss thereafter. This was not to be. Last week, Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa’s young life was cut short by some rapists. This has thrown the university into mourning.
Omozuwa, a 100-level student of UNIBEN, was attacked at the Ikpoba Hill branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on May 27, where she had reportedly gone to study at night. The 22-year-old Vera’s head was allegedly smashed with a fire extinguisher by her assailants.
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that when the church security officer went to collect keys from the keeper, he was told someone had done so. In the church, he met the victim in a pool of blood as well as saw the blood-stained fire extinguisher. After informing the keeper, Vera was immediately rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), where she revealed that some men had come into the church to rape her and subsequently hit her head with a fire extinguisher. She died on Saturday, May 30, after efforts to save her failed.
Outrage from students
Though UNIBEN is not in session due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its students have condemned the killing of Omozuwa.
A 100 level student of Physics Department, who gave her name as Queen Osagie, described the murder of Miss Vera as an act of wickedness and extreme evil.
She said the incident had made her realise that no place was safe.
“I was shocked and sad when I saw the news on WhatsApp. I couldn’t imagine such an act happening in a church. The perpetrators must be evil and without hearts to have taken the life of a fellow human being.
“No place is really safe. I pray that the culprits will be caught and punished severely so that they will understand that human life is not something to be destroyed at will,” she said.
Meanwhile, another student from Ekenwan Campus of the university, Bolaji Jokanola, condemned the rape and killing of Vera. He described the act as evil, which should not be condoned in a decent human society.
“For me, rape is not something to be excused or accepted as part of those things that happen in our society. But the most gruesome part is killing the victim after such an act.
“It shows the callous heart of the culprits. The society and necessary agencies should take this incident seriously and ensure that the suspects are apprehended and dealt with for such crime against humanity,“ said Bolaji.
Another student from the Ekenwan campus, who gave her name as Rukky, equally decried the dastardly act against the victim.
She called on the various agencies involved to ensure that the culprits were apprehended and punished. She advised parents to avoid religious bigotry.
“This act is pure evil. No matter what might have led to Miss Vera’s murder, it can never be justified. We all must try to be careful with whom we associate with as bad friends lead people into evil ways.
“I pray Miss Vera’s perpetrators will be caught and justice applied so that those out there with such evil intentions will eschew such misdeed.
“Parents, however, should be mindful of where their children go to, especially at night. Parents should also enlighten their children on issues like this,” she said.
Wisdom Obuetor from the Department of Political Science also condemned the killing of Vera.
“If I say that I was not shocked when I saw the news on WhatsApp, then, I will be lying.
“It is very surprising that such act was committed in a church of all places. This made me wonder if a church is just like any other building.
“I am so saddened and I pray for strength for the family at this trying time. I also implore everyone to avoid places that are lonely, especially at night, because evil doers work in the dark,” he said.
Physical and virtual protests from students
In a show of solidarity, students in Edo State organised a peaceful protest on Monday to decry the crime with placards bearing messages like: “Stop Raping Us”, “Stop Killing Us”, “No Means No,” as they marched to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to register their grouse and make sure justice is done. There were protests online too with the hashtag #justiceforuwa as people expressed their angst.
Sister accuses police of demanding money
Sadly, a sister of the deceased, Judith Omozuwa, in an online video, lamented that the police had requested money before they could do anything about the matter.
“They (the police) told us to bring money before they could act. It is very bad. And that would not be possible at all,” she disagreed.
Uniben Vc, Adeboye react
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami, in a statement, described the news as shocking and condemnable, noting that such a heinous crime should not be condoned in the society. She commiserated with the family of the bereaved and prayed that God grants the victim a peaceful repose. She, however, urged students of the institution and the youth to be careful of the company they keep and the places they visit.
It was also gathered that a delegation was sent by the university management to commiserate with the family of the late undergraduate.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, condemned the mindless crime and urged everyone to be calm as the church was already looking into the issue. He went on to pray for the family of the deceased.
“All I can do at this time is to pray for the family of Omozuwa and do everything possible working with relevant authorities to bring the perpetrators to book. I and my family members condemn this act strongly and urge everyone to stay calm as we are already looking into the matter,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Governor Obaseki orders investigation
Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the police to investigate the death of Vera.
In a statement, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said Obaseki had mandated the police and other security agencies to fish out the culprits, who perpetrated the act and bring them to justice.
“The governor is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa. We have been in consultation with the Edo State Command of the Nigeria Police and have ordered a thorough investigation of the matter to ensure that those who are responsible for this heinous crime are brought to book,” Osagie said.
He added that the government would ensure that the culprits were fished out and dealt with.
The governor expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.