She never saw it coming, neither did she in her wildest imagination, envisage such would happen at a place so revered and considered safe.
Like every other day, on May 27,2020, she took her books and walked into the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, Edo State, where she and members of her family have been worshiping for 15 years, to read.
Barely had she finished reading and was walking out of the church, than some strange faces appeared from nowhere. They grabbed her and attempted to rape her.
As expected, she put up some struggles, an action that resulted in her being bitten in the mouth, hand and other parts of the body by the predators. To incapacitate her, one of them hit her on the head with a fire extinguisher, before they succeeded in raping her and abandoned her in the pool of her blood to die.
By the time she opened her eyes, 22-year-old Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, who was a 100 level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, realized she was in a private hospital. She managed to narrate what transpired at the church, but died three days later, at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, where she was transferred to .
Her death sparked up protests from different quarters with calls to the Police authorities to fish out the perpetrators. It also left many wondering why the rapists could carry out such inhuman acts in a place of worship, without recourse to its sanctity.
Already, one person has been arrested in connection with the gang- rape and murder , with the case transferred to the Force headquarters, Abuja, on the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, for discreet investigation.
As Nigerians were smarting from late Uwa’s gang rape and murder case, a similar incident occurred on June 1, 2020, in Ibadan , the Oyo State capital, involving 18-year-old Barakat Bello, a 100- level student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology.
In her case, the rapists invaded her parents home at Akinleye area of Ibadan, while members of her family were away. She was stabbed to death in the course of forcing their ways into her. Her lifeless body was found in the pool of her blood inside the bathroom , when her sister arrived.
Again, her death has left several questions bothering on how safe are places considered to be.
These two cases of gang rape and murder are not the first of their kind in Nigeria. Another pathetic incident involving a 300-level final year student of the College of Nursing and Midwifery, in Jalingo, Tabara state, Miss. Mercy Victor, occurred two years ago.
The student died of injuries she sustained after she was gang raped by hoodlums. She was reportedly returning to the school from town, in a commercial tricycle, when the hoodlums intercepted her close to the bridge after the State Specialist Hospital, a route known for constant attacks and rape of victims, at night.
Many would have forgotten about late Ochanya Elizabeth, the 13-year-old student of the Federal Government Girl’s College , Gboko, Benue State, who died on October 21, 2018, after five years of anal and vaginal rape, which resulted to vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) and other health complications.
The teenager’s ordeal began when she was compelled to move into the Andrew Ogbuja’s family house at age seven, when she was in Primary school , in order to attain basic elementary education because the only school in her village was shut over inability to pay teachers salary.
Barely had she settled down than she became a sex machine for her new guardian and his son. She alleged that her guardian’s son started sleeping with her at age eight , until his elder sister caught him and reported him to their father. Rather than get justice, she alleged that his father continued from where his son stopped.
Not too long, she became sick. Her case aggravated with time and left her bedridden. Report had it that her guardian , the Ogbujas, allegedly hid report of a test conducted on her, from her parents, who were left in the dark of what was actually wrong with their daughter.
Her mother, Rose Ochayan, said that at a point, their daughter, who was the youngest of their 11 children could not walk. She recalled, “ she lost so much weight and looked pale. When she was discharged from the Federal Medical Centre, she started defecating and urinating uncontrollably on herself and could not walk. We started putting diapers on her. The illness took her away from school for months.
“ She was taken to the Benue State Teaching Hospital where several tests were conducted and at the end, the results revealed that she was violated sexually in her vagina and anus and that she was suffering from VVF”.
Her situation further deteriorated, as she could no longer eat nor sleep. Her visit to the hospital right from age eight to 13, ended in October, when she bowed to the cold hands of death, without fulfilling her dreams of completing her secondary school education, let alone becoming a graduate.
Surprising, the alleged predator, Mr Andrew Ogbuja, was discovered to be a senior lecturer in the Department of Catereering and Hotel Management , at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo. He was subsequently arrested and remanded in prison custody by the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Makurdi , for a fresh charge of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide, few days after the death of the teenager.