Vera Uwaila “Uwa” Omozuwa lost her life at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria on May 30, 2020 during the time of new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She was 22.
As of March 31, 2020, Nigeria listed 287 deaths related to COVID-19. But Omozuwa’s death had nothing to do with the deadly virus.
On May 27, 2020, Omozuwa was reading inside the auditorium of a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Ikpoba Hill, Benin City. A security guard at the church went there to collect the keys to the church from its keeper when he found her bloody and unconscious next to a fire extinguisher.
Thinking that Omozuwa was dead, the security guard immediately informed the key keeper and his wife. They noticed that she was able to move her hand so they rushed her to the intensive care unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, where she died three days later.
Before dying in the hospital, Omozuwa reportedly regained consciousness and narrated how a group of unknown men came into the church while she was reading all alone and hit her head with a fire extinguisher after raping her. Her death called the attention not only of Nigerians but of many people from around the world calling for justice for her.
The case was reported at the Oregbeni Police Station in Benin City but the authorities have yet to identify Omozuwa’s killers. Here are 13 things about the late Nigerian university student:
- She was born in 1998.
- She was an aspiring nurse.
- She has just been admitted to the University of Benin in Benin City to study microbiology when she was killed.
- She lived near the parish of the RCCG in Edo State.
- She was a member of the choir in the church.
- She often went to the church to read because it was quiet, her sister Judith Omozuwa told BBC Pidgin.
- A police spokesperson in southern Edo State told the publication that they were treating her case as murder not rape claiming that she died following a fight at the church.
- RCCG media and public relations head Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi mourned her death.
- Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki mourned her death.
- Nigerian actress, producer and director Genevieve Nnaji mourned her death.
- Nigerian actress Kate Henshaw mourned her death.
- Ego singer Djinee mourned her death.
- What happened to her was condemned by Amnesty International.