UNIBEN student murder: FG orders investigation of student’s gang-rape, murder, abuse of minor

Tataafo.com – 3rd June, 2020

  • IGP orders Force-CID to take over investigation
  • Police arrest suspect linked to rape, murder of student
  • As Senate seeks stiffer penalty for rape, condemns killing
  • Adeboye condemns murder of Miss Omozuwa
  • OAU students protest incessant rape in Nigeria

The Federal Government has directed the police to unravel the circumstances surrounding the gang-rape and murder of a female student of the University of Benin, Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, in Benin and the serial sexual abuse of a minor in Jigawa State by 14 men, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that by bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crimes to justice, the Federal Government will be serving a strong notice of its total aversion to gender-based violence in whatever form.

The Minister described the gang-rape and murder of Miss Omozuwa in Edo State as a cruel and barbaric act that offends human sensibility, in addition to being antithetical to decency, saying no society will tolerate such depravity.  He also said the serial sexual abuse of a minor by 14 men in Jigawa State was not only repulsive but also highly condemnable.

‘’It is said that the true measure of a society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members,’’ Alhaji Mohammed noted, assuring that the Federal Government will do everything possible to stem the growing tide of gender-based violence in the country.

IGP orders Force-CID to take over investigations

The Inspector  General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, also yesterday ordered the immediate transfer of the ongoing investigations into the inhuman sexual assault and murder of a student of the University of Benin, Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, which occurred last Wednesday in Benin, Edo State, from the state police headquarters to the Force headquarters, Abuja.

The IGP’s directive is sequel to the preliminary report from the team of investigators and forensic experts earlier deployed to assist the Edo State Police Command in the investigations into the unfortunate incident. A statement by DCP Frank Mba, Force PRO, said:  “The DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), DIG Anthony Ogbizi Michael, will henceforth provide direct supervision and ensure speedy and thorough investigation of the case.

“In a similar vein, the IGP has ordered the immediate deployment of specialized investigators and additional investigation assets to all the Gender Desk Offices and the Juvenile Welfare Centres, JWC, across the country.

“This is to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the units to respond to increasing challenges of sexual assaults and domestic/gender-based violence linked with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and other social ills within the country”. The IGP called on members of the public to provide the police with useful information that could aid investigations into ongoing cases of sexual assaults and domestic/gender-based violence across the country.

He also enjoined parents and guardians to pay closer attention to their children and wards in these trying times.

However, a suspect linked with the rape and murder of the Microbiology student has been arrested.

Police arrest suspect linked to rape, murder of student

Chidi Nwabuzor, spokesperson of the Edo State police command said yesterday that the suspect was arrested after the fingerprint on the fire extinguisher she was attacked with was examined.

He also said the individual was apprehended after the area commander of Ikpoba Hill mobilised his men to take action. “The item used in assaulting and wounding her was recovered, a fire extinguisher cylinder. Immediately the operatives, who were with the specialist, screened the fingerprints on the cylinder, moved the body of the victim while she was still alive and in Comma.

“The area commander in charge of Ikpoba Hill Area Command took it upon himself, mobilized his operatives, and moved to town. Around the place of the incident, the suspect was arrested.”

Senate seeks stiffer penalty for rape, condemns killing

Also, the Senate yesterday called on all relevant authorities in the country to ensure stiffer punishments for rapists in the country.

It also condemned in very strong terms, the rape and murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, in a church in Benin City, Edo State, last week, which sparked outrage across Nigeria. The Upper Chamber equally urged all the State Houses of Assembly to make punishment for rapists more stringent, and asked the security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. It also asked the security agencies to enforce the Child Rights Act as it affects the girl-child marriage, while also asking the Federal Government to stage aggressive campaigns against rape in the country.

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion, titled “increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria” and sponsored by Senator Sandy Onor, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Cross River Central.

Speaking after the presentation of the motion, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, advocated stiffer penalties for rape in Nigeria.

Lawan made the call in his concluding remarks on a motion considered to condemn the increasing cases of rape and brutality against the girl child in Nigeria.

According to him, having in place stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as deterrent to perpetrators involved in the act. He said:  “We stand together on this, and I think we need to make the penalties for rape stiffer to be sufficient deterrent for those who are involved in this, or who even desires to be involved. We have to save our future, and these girls and women are the future of this nation.”

Adeboye condemns murder of Miss Omozuwa

Reacting to the incident yesterday, the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God,, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, condemned the murder in strong terms. In a statement signed by the Assistant General Overseer, (Admin/Personnel), Pastor. Johnson Funso Odesola, Adeboye said: “As a church which has continually thrown her weight against all social vices, it is surprising that some people could be so hard hearted to have done this heinous act against Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa.

“While we commiserate with the Omozua family for this painful loss of one of us in an undeserved manner, we want to assure you that The Redeemed Christian Church of God and her leadership will continue to support the family and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until the culprits are brought to book, in every way possible within our sphere of influence.”

OAU students protest against incessant rape in Nigeria

Meanwhile, more outrage trailed the rape and murder of Uwaila yesterday as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, stormed the streets of Ife protesting incessant rape case in Nigeria.

The students also expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude the case of Mr. Bisi Olaleye, a lecture in the department of International Relations of the university, who was accused of rape was handled months after the allegation was levelled against him,

The students, under the aegis of “Concerned Great Ife Students” also used the opportunity to submit petitions to the Area Commander of Moore Area Command in Ile-Ife, Osun State and the palace of Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

According to the students, the recurrent rate of sexual violence in Nigeria is becoming alarming and more appalling that most cases of sexual violence are not properly investigated and prosecuted.

The protesters gathered at the school entrance gate around noon, moved through Lagere, Mayfair, Iremo streets Enuwa and terminated at Moore, where the petition was handed over to the Area Commander.

They also displayed different placards with inscriptions such as, “Silence is justification for rape”, “No girl child deserves rape”, “We want a sane society” etc.

The petition, signed by the Convener of the Movement, Dunsin Olowolafe, a copy which was obtained by Vanguard, stated that the spate of sexual violence was influenced by the poor handling of previous cases due to interference of authorities.

The petition read:  “As recently seen some days ago when an 100-level student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Jennifer, was violently raped in a Church where she had gone to read while sustaining serious complications that later led to her death.

“We strongly believe that the reason her rapist-killers could have been brazen in committing such a level of atrocity is because of their knowledge of the poor record of the Nigerian security agencies and authorities in responding to and unravelling atrocities of such degree.

A typical recent example is that of Olabisi Olaleye, a lecturer in the department of International relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, who was accused by students of sexual harassment.”

“Till now the only thing that has been heard is a claim of his suspension by the University authority with promise to intimate the public about the final verdict of the disciplinary panel”.

“On this note, we call on the Nigeria Police Force to immediately take a prompt action on the need to end rape culture in Nigeria and we also demand that the rapist-killers of Uwaila Omozuwa be immediately brought to book. In order, to serve as a deterrent to other rapists that are still lurking around and a template of justice for rape victims.”

Reacting to the protest, Moore Area Commander, Akinbamilowo Adeleye, who received the students’ petition on behalf of Osun Commissioner of Police, Undie Adie, acknowledged the receipt of the petition as he advised students to be law abiding.

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