Uniben Student raped and killed in church wanted to become a minister and preach the gospel
Uwaila Vera Omozuwa a profound student who studied microbiology at Uniben, but her passion was theology.
Even after she gained admission to the University last year, the 22-year-old didn’t stop taking theological classes at a local parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Benin city, Edo State, her older sister Judith Omozuwa told CNN.
But Omozuwa’s life was taken prematuredly in a brutal attack. Last Wednesday the student was found dead, lying half-naked in a pool of blood at the church where she had been a member of the choir for years, according to an official at the church.
Despite the best efforts of doctors to save her life, Omozuwa, whom her family described as “kind and intelligent,” died days after the attack.
“She wanted to be a minister and preach the word of God. The church was her favorite place to be,” Judith, 24, said by phone. “That she was murdered where she always found peace is just devastating.”
Omozuwa usually went to the church on weekdays to study to avoid distractions from her siblings at home, her sister said.
The student went more regularly in recent months as her university was one of the dozens shuttered by authorities as part of measures to halt the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
Edo Police Command spokesman Chidi Nwabuzor told reporters earlier this week: “The item used in the assault, which was a fire extinguisher, was recovered. Immediately the operatives scanned the fingerprints, which led to our suspect.”
Omozuwa’s family told CNN that medics said she was raped, but the police have stopped short of calling it rape and instead described it as “inhumane sexual assault.”
Rape is considered a stigma in most Nigerian families and it’s extraordinary for her family to reveal that this happened to her, Amnesty International Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho told CNN.
“It shows how police are unwilling to even investigate rape cases and will rather probe murder allegations. Both are heinous crimes and none should be dismissed for the other,” Ojigho said.
CNN has made several attempts to reach the police team in charge of the investigation with no response so far.
However, for the first time in recent years, Nigeria’s police said it planned to strengthen its response to gender-based violence, adding that it had deployed special detectives across the country to work on gender violence cases.