Nigeria: IG Vows to Bring Killers of Uniben Student to Book

(file photo).
2 June 2020

Lagos and Benin — The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has deployed additional investigation aids and forensic support to the Edo State Police Command to fish out those who raped an undergraduate of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Miss Vera Omozuwa, and killed her.

However, the police in Edo State have arrested some suspects over the incident.

The 22-year-old 100-level student was gang-raped and killed by four unknown men while reading in a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in Benin City, where she was a congregant.

Her death triggered a national outrage at the weekend, which continued yesterday with protests in Benin City.

A former Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the family of the victim and protesters called on security agencies to fish out the culprits and bring them to justice.

Reacting to her death, the IG said yesterday that the police would ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book, adding that additional forensic support has been deployed to aid investigation.

According to the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), the forensic support will complement and expedite actions in the ongoing investigations to arrest the suspects.

He said: "As part of deliberate and concerted efforts by the Nigeria Police High Command to unravel the circumstances surrounding the brutal attack and unfortunate death of Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa in Benin, Edo State, the Inspector General of Police has deployed additional investigation aids and forensic support to Edo State Police Command to complement and expedite actions in the ongoing investigations into the unfortunate incident.

"The IG, while condemning the attack, commiserates with the family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased.

"He calls for calm and assures the people that the force will surely bring the perpetrators of the callous act to book in the shortest possible time."

The state police command said some arrests had been made and investigations into the incident was ongoing.

The Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Chidi Nwabuzor, said the police were investigating the circumstances that led to the death of the UNIBEN undergraduate.

Saraki and the father of the victim, Mr. Johnson Omozuwa, also called on security agencies to fish out the killers of the deceased.

Omozuwa told journalists yesterday at his home in Benin City: "I received calls from people living around the church who got to the scene and met my daughter in a pool of her blood; photographs of the scene were taken, while a fire extinguisher cylinder which the hoodlums used in inflicting injuries on her was recovered."

He urged the government to fish out the killers of his daughter and bring them to justice.

The mother of the deceased said she was surprised her daughter could die in such a gruesome manner because she was a peaceful fellow who did not cause trouble.

In a tweet yesterday, Saraki charged law enforcement agencies to ensure they find the killers of Miss Omozuwa.

Saraki, who lamented the "extremely shocking" incident, noted that everyone must work to create safe spaces for girls and women - free from all sorts of sexual harassment and violence.

He said: "The reports of the rape and murder of a 22-year-old undergraduate of the University of Benin, Uwa Omozuwa, in a church in Benin City, are extremely shocking. Such savagery has no place in the Nigerian society.

"As a people, we have to work to create safe spaces for our girls and women - in our homes, at work and in our places of worship - free from any and all sorts of sexual violation. And I say this not just because I'm a #GirlDad but because it is the right thing to do.

"I strongly appeal to our law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in finding the perpetrators of this heinous act and bringing them to justice.

"I pray that the Almighty comforts the Omozuwa family and strengthen them at this very difficult time."

Also, some aggrieved residents of Benin City marched on the Edo State police command over the death.

Carrying placards such as "Stop killing and raping women," "Say no you rape," "No means no," "We have the right to our bodies," "Consent is key," the protesters were later addressed by a senior police officer who assured them that efforts were being made to apprehend the killers.

In a late night post on his Twitter handle @PastorAdeboye, the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, condemned the death of the girl in one of his parishes.

He tweeted, "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 members of my family condemn this act strongly and urge everyone to stay calm as we are already looking into the matter and cooperating with the police to establish the facts of the shocking incident. #justiceforuwa."

Also, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, urged the police to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to the death.

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