By Osahon Osahon
The Edo State Government has debunked reports that the late Miss Vera Uwa Omozuwa was pregnant before she was allegedly raped and murdered by unknown rapists in a church in Benin-City, the state capital.
The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. (Mrs.) Yinka Omorogbe, clarified that the deceased was a virgin until the time she was raped and gruesomely murdered.
She said the report of the autopsy conducted on her revealed clearly that she was a virgin before her killers attacked her, adding that it was barbaric for anyone to say she was pregnant.
Omorogbe stated this on Friday in Benin while receiving members of Edo Women Development Initiatives (EWDI) who were protesting the killing of Uwa and surge in the cases of rapes across the state.
Reports on social media had alleged that the suspect arrested in connection with Uwa’s murder confessed that he was sent by the church pastor because she was pregnant for him.
She noted that the news of her being impregnated by her pastor caused serious anguish to the family members, describing it as a terrible story.
She said: “We were all terribly shocked to see what happened to Uwa. It was terrible; it was a brutal experience.
“We were further shocked by some of the different things we saw all over the place, particularly on social media, and that is why it is important we come here.
“For example we saw a terrible lie being peddled on social media, not regular press, that Uwa was impregnated by her pastor. That has been refuted, though it caused serious anguish to the family members. It’s a terrible story.
“Though one cannot talk at this point, but from the autopsy done on Uwa, it was clearly established that not only was she not pregnant, she was a virgin, so, how boyfriend and pregnancy came in, only God knows.”
Omorogbe who noted that rape can be totally eradicated in the society and that they are given the judgement they deserve, solicited for partnership with the mainstream press to counter fake news peddled on the social media.
“All we are trying to do is to make sure there is no more rape in Edo State. Not only do I believe that rape can be totally eradicated in the state, government of Mr. Obaseki is committed to ensuring that there is total eradication of rape culture in this state and to ensure that all rapists area given the punishment that they deserve. We are doing all we can to make sure that this becomes a reality.
“This is why there is need for partnership. First and foremost, in any news, we need to know the source of the news that we come across. So it is important we come here,” she said.
Also speaking, the Chairperson, Edo Women Development Initiatives, Mrs. Roseline Okosun, described the increasing cases of rape as a course on the land.
“We decided to come out this morning to speak out against rape. Our mothers are no longer secure and safe with their children. They can no longer leave their children with their neighbors and even with relations anymore.
“Relations are raping our children, fathers are raping their daughters. I grew up here in Edo and I have not heard this bad before that fathers, young boys are raping our daughters in the universities and down to primary school. I don’t know the curse that has been placed on our land.
“We need our children to be safe, wherever they go to they must be safe. No body should tamper with them no matter what they wear, it’s no body’s business.
Even a three month old child is being raped. We are saying no to all of these. It must come to an end,” Mrs. Okosun said.
Speaking in the same vein, a member of the Federation off International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Barr. Stella Ojeme, opined that the culture of silence might have been reason for the increase in rapes.
“We are all here to express our deep sadness, anger and dismay over the incident of rape and defilement. We have come to ask all stakeholders to join us to put an end to this menace.
“We are saying we do not want our women and children to be raped anymore. We want our women to be treated with respect and dignity. We are calling all stakeholders to join us to form forces with us.
“We do not want the culture of silence anymore because probably this is why the menace has thrive so long. We want law enforcement agencies to be up and doing in their jobs. We want the government to also put in place all needed to protect us from rape. And we want all the laws be strengthened and the old ones be reviewed.”