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.
The victim, Vera Omozuwa, a 100-level Microbiology student of UNIBEN, was beaten and raped inside a hall in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City on May 27, where she went to study.
She died on May 31, 4 days after, at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
She was 23 years old.
“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, said on Sunday evening.
“It’s unfortunate that no person is coming out as an eye witness to give (an) account of what happened,” he added.
Mr Nwabuzor, a deputy superintendent of police, said the victim’s father, Johnson Omozuwa, who reported the incident to the police, is “a hearsay witness” because he was not at the scene of the crime. “He couldn’t tell us who the suspects are.”
Mr Nwabuzor said the police operatives have spoken with the people in the branch of the Redeemed Church where the late Ms Omozuwa was attacked, but that all of them denied being there when the incident happened.
The police spokesperson said they cannot conclude that Ms Omozuwa was raped by her attackers until a medical report is out from the hospitals she was taken to.
The police are investigating the case, he said.
The management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) decried the news of the rape and subsequent murder.
The Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN, Lilian Salami, in a statement through the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Benedicta Ehanire, described the news as shocking.
In the statement made available to journalists on Sunday in Benin, the VC said the actions were condemnable and should not be condoned by any society.
She said the current COVID-19 pandemic was already hard on everyone and that compounding it with inflicting additional pain on any family was a wicked act.
While commiserating with the bereaved family on the loss of their daughter, Mrs Salami prayed God to grant her soul peaceful rest.
The vice-chancellor urged students of the institution and indeed all young people to be wary of the company they kept and the places they visited.
A delegation was sent by the university’s management to commiserate with the bereaved family.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the police to fish out those responsible for the brutal killing of Ms Omozuwa.
Mr Obaseki is “deeply saddened” by the death of Ms Omozuwa, a statement by the governor’s spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie, said.
The rape and murder of Ms Omozuwa has attracted outrage from Nigerians on social media with several people reacting using the hashtag #JusticeForUwa.