“Justice delayed, is justice denied.”

One of the tragedies of our beloved nation is that very often issues are easily swept under the carpet. That alone is proof that corruption is worse in Nigeria, than in many other nations of the world. It has eaten so deep into the fabric of our collective nationhood, that issues which should be pursued to their logical end, are often left on the desks of judges and archives of courtrooms to gather dust for eternity. Will this also happen in Uwaila’s case? We hope not.

The case of rape and brutal murder of Omozuwa Uwaila saw some rays of hope, when the Nigerian Police reported that it had caught some suspects involved in the dastardly act. This development gives the impression that this case could be an exception. We are therefore encouraged to hope that justice will be served; and swiftly.

Justice for Uwaila will definitely boost the hope of many Nigerians that someday, corruption, inhumanity, and other evils, if not completely eliminated, would be reduced to the barest minimum.

We recall how, many months ago, a day of private studies in a Church by a young undergraduate, turned bloody. It was a May 27th that left a sour taste in the mouth of the Omozuwas (cf. Fadakay.org).

Their 22 year old daughter, Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100-level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, had gone to study privately inside one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, in Benin City, where she was gang raped, and brutally murdered by suspected hoodlums/rapists, who until August 27th, 2020 were on the run.

Exactly three months later, six suspects in connection with the crime were paraded by the Nigerian police force in Benin city, the Edo state capital. While some of the suspects confessed to their involvement in the crime, others denied it. But as the saying goes, ‘there is no smoke without fire.’ Could it be that at last there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Let all fingers be crossed, as we patiently look forward to the unfolding.

The names of the paraded suspects by the Edo State Police Command were given as, Nelson Ogbebor, Akato Valentine, Tina Samuel, Mary Ade, Nosa Osabohien, and Collins Ulegbe.

Further investigations revealed that Osabohien, a phone repairer, was the first to be arrested by the police because he bought Uwa’s phone for 17,000naira. He later led the investigation team to Ulegbe, one who has been fingered as the principal suspect.

In his confession, Ulegbe confessed that he struck Uwa with the fire extinguisher; an identified exhibit that was left at the scene of the crime. But he however named Ogbebor and Akato as other suspects, who confirmed that they were at the scene of the murderous crime with him, but denied direct involvement.

One of the females among the six suspects, who has been fingered as the mastermind that allegedly offered the sum of one million naira to the gang to kill Uwa for ritual purposes, denied the allegation. She insisted that she would prove her innocence in court.

Ulegbe further denied that the late Uwa was gang raped, as earlier alleged. This was however refuted by the police. The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, revealed that the post-mortem examination report confirmed that she was actually raped (cf. “Suspect arrested for UNIBEN student Uwa’s rape, murder says gang was paid N1 million,” PULSE NIGERIA, by Samson Toroma, August, 27th, 2020).

While speaking with journalists on August 27, 2020, Kokumo confirmed to the public that the suspects have already made confessional statements to the Police. In his words, “What we are seeing today, is a result of the uniting efforts of the police to get at the root of the crime”(Channels TV, August 27th, 2020).

With the current unfolding, the pastor of the church where she was gang raped and murdered, who was initially accused, has been vindicated. We pray and hope that Uwa and her family would at last get justice.

May the soul of Uwaila Omozuwa continue to rest in the Lord’s Bosom. Amen.

© Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI, MSP.

Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI is a Catholic Priest of the Missionary Society of St Paul. He is currently on mission in the Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon.