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Caption: L-R: Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs. Barbara Osobajo; Chief Imam, Benin Central Mosque, Sheikh Abdulfatah Enabulele; Governor Godwin Obaseki; his wife, Betsy; Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Assembly candidate for Edo Central, Mrs. Maria Edeko, during the ‘End of Project Workshop’ organised by the Nigerian Academy of Science Gender Based Violence Project, at the Government House, Benin City, on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022.

Obaseki decries delayed justice for late Uwaila, other victims of gender-based violence

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the delay in the investigation and prosecution of those behind the rape and gruesome murder of late Uwaila Omozuwa, a 100 Level Microbiology student of the University of Benin.

Late Uwaila Omozuwa was murdered in 2020 at a church in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Obaseki, while declaring open the ‘End of Project Workshop’ for the National Academy for Science, noted that delayed justice for victims was impeding the fight against gender-based violence in the state.

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The workshop has the theme, “Strengthening the Evidence and Response Pathways for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in key states in Nigeria.”

The governor said, “Two years after Uwaila Omozuwa was brutally murdered in Benin City, we have still not been able to prosecute the perpetrators of this dastardly act. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) insisted that this case should be moved to headquarters.

“As we speak, the investigation is stalling. This is really, really sad and we will not be able to make progress in our fight against gender-based violence if we can't get reports from the very highest authorities in Nigeria.”

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"With the interest that President Muhammadu Buhari has shown in the fight against GBV crimes in Nigeria, it is quite disappointing that the police has not been able to make use of this very sad incident which shocked the whole world as an example to show that they have the capacity to deal with this set of violent crimes in our society,” he decried.

Obaseki charged, “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to please use his good office to ensure that his men do what they are constitutionally expected to do and ensure that they conclude investigations and prosecute the perpetrators of this painful offense.

“If this is not done, all our efforts, all the work we have put in, till date, will come to nothing, because people will say that at the end of the day, nothing will come out of it.”

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Reassuring that his government will sustain efforts to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in the state, Obaseki noted, “Edo State has made adequate budgetary commitments that will sustain the fight against GBV such that perpetrators will be adequately punished and survivors will get adequate care. We are putting in place the institutional arrangements, including the infrastructure to deal with GBV.”

He added, “Construction of GBV building is in full gear, at the Senator Daisy Danjuma Centre, and I am very confident that before the end of this year that building will be completed with all the required amenities.

“Discussions are on with international partners to see how we can get support to manage these infrastructures and institutions that we have put in place under a sustainable basis.”

Earlier, the Edo First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, who is also the Chairperson of the Edo State Gender-Based Violence Management Committee, said the state plans to establish GBV centres in proposed Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the 192 wards of the state.

While highlighting the gains recorded by the state in the fight against GBV, Mrs. Obaseki noted that Edo has set up GBV clubs in secondary schools across the state to enhance sensitization in rural areas and ensure the prosecution of offenders.