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Omozuwa: Foundation seeks 21-year imprisonment for rape offenders

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
22 November 2020   |   4:02 am
Agitated by the rape and eventual murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa in a church in Benin, Edo State, an international non-governmental organisation, Jose Foundation...

Agitated by the rape and eventual murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa in a church in Benin, Edo State, an international non-governmental organisation, Jose Foundation, has proposed a 21-year jail term for rape offenders and other forms of violence against women and children in Edo State.

The death of Omozuwa, whose remains were buried penultimate Friday at the Third Cemetery in Benin, has continued to elicit condemnation in and outside the country.

In a press statement signed by President of Jose Foundation, Dr. Martins Abhulimhen in London, he said the brutality meted out to the late Omozuwa was the height of man’s inhumanity, which must not be left unpunished.

He said the foundation had taken it upon itself to seek justice, not only for the family of Omozuwa, but also for victims of sexual abuse across the state.

Recall that the late Uwaila, who was 22-year-old at the time of her death, was gang-raped, inflicted with head injuries and abandoned for dead inside a church in the state. 

She died three days after the attack at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital from injuries sustained during the attack on her. 

“We are pained at the brutality meted out on the young university student leading to her death.

Hence, we are not taking it lightly in getting the Edo State House of Assembly to pass a bill, which will be tagged “Uwa’s Law” with a stiffer punishment for rape offenders.

“There is every need for us to collectively raise the bar of punishment for this callous act. We are proposing in the bill a minimum of 21-year prison sentence without a fine option for any rape offender, and when such cases lead to the death of the victim, the maximum sentence for murder should be applied,” Abhulimhen said.

He also stated that the Jose Foundation was setting up a trust fund in the late Omozuwa’s name to fight for justice and to restore victims of rape and other sexual violence to normal life.

Abhulimhen stressed that the trust fund, when set up, will be headed by the parents of the deceased with spiritual support from the church, which she attended.

Founded in Abuja in 2003, Jose Foundation has been guided by the principles of generosity and strives to foster positive change and enable people to live a meaningful and fulfilling life in a more equitable and safer environment.

The Foundation has been involved in building the capacities and strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable groups, children and women in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.