•RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Adeboye Reacts
There is outrage in Nigeria following the murder of a 22-year-old student, Uwavera Omozuwa in a church.
The hashtag #JusticeForUwa is trending in Nigeria, with her family appealing for help to track down her killers.
Uwavera had been studying in a “quiet” church near her home in Benin City when she was killed, her sister, Judith, told BBC Pidgin.
The student, who had wanted to become a nurse, died in hospital on Saturday, three days after the attack.
Judith Omozuwa said her sister had also been raped.
Her family said they received a call from a woman at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Wednesday evening.
Uwavera was taken to hospital after a security guard found her, her skirt torn and her shirt covered in blood, Judith Omozuwa said.
‘Failure to curb gender-based violence’
However, a police spokesperson in southern Edo State, whose capital is Benin City, told BBC Pidgin that they were treating the incident as a murder, not a rape, case.
The student died following a fight at the church, the spokesperson added, without giving more details.
Uwavera had only just been admitted to the University of Benin to study microbiology when she was killed.
She often went to sit and “read” at the church near her house as it was quiet, her sister added.
Unconfirmed reports in local media said a group of men had entered the church, raping Uwavera and hitting her with a fire extinguisher.
On Tuesday, many Nigerians were angered after a policeman allegedly shot dead a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe, in the commercial capital, Lagos.
The officer was arrested, police said.
On Twitter, many Nigerians expressed concern about the government’s failure to tackle gender-based violence, and questioned whether parents were bringing up boys properly.
Pastor Adeboye reacts
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, on Sunday, reacted to the reported rape and subsequent death of a University of Benin (UNIBEN) undergraduate, Vera Omozuwa.
The crime reportedly took place inside a hall of one of the parishes of the RCCG on Ikpoba Hill, Benin city.
Mr Adeboye, in a statement posted on his official Facebook page late Sunday, commiserated with the family and also said the RCCG management would cooperate fully with the police to unravel the crime and arrest the perpetrators.
Premium Times reported how the police in Edo State said “they are searching for people who might have witnessed the assault that led to the death of a female student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State.”
Preliminary reports indicate that the victim, a 100-level student, was beaten inside a hall in the said parish, where she had gone to study.
The 23-year-old died on May 31, 18 days after, at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
“As at the day of the incident, she was in a coma, so the police could not obtain a statement from her on what happened,” the police spokesperson in Edo, Chidi Nwabuzor, told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday evening.
“It’s unfortunate that no person is coming out as an eyewitness (witness) to give (an) account of what happened,” he added.
The university had earlier expressed shock at the development.
Reacting, Pastor Adeboye said: “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.”
Adeboye who is a former lecturer, added. “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 situation… #justiceforuwa.”
The hashtag, #justiceforuwa is currently trending on social media networks with hundreds of Nigerians calling for an efficient investigation and arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
Sexual assault, rape and murder are prominent crimes security operatives in Nigeria continue to battle weekly in many states across the country.Getting justice for rape victims, in particular, is usually a herculean task due to the less than efficient investigation and judicial process.
Credits| BBC, PT