International Women’s Day: How Grieving Families Of Young Nigerian Women Raped, Brutally Murdered Have Lost Hope On Getting Justice

As the world marked International Women’s Day on Tuesday, the occasion allowed for the celebration of the female gender and their priceless contributions to societal and human development in general. The day further provided a virile platform for equality advocates to ask for more privileges for women.

But in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with a massive female contingent, the day served as a brutal reminder of how endangered women have become across the country.

Apart from now being easy targets for ritual killers and rapists, doers of other types of evil have also relentlessly turned their radar on women, unleashing their venom on them in various ways at the slightest opportunity.

While several events were held across Nigeria to mark the special occasion on Tuesday, family members and friends of 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayanwola, a promising fashion designer, whose body was found after she went missing on February 26, 2022, after boarding a public bus in Lagos, embarked on a protest to demand justice for her murder.

The young lady was heading to the Ikotun area of the city from Ajah where she worked that fateful day when things took a different and disturbing turn.

By the time news of her discovery filtered in last Monday, several days after she was last seen, it was her lifeless body in a morgue that her family members were shown.

The incident, apart from sparking public outrage, has further raised questions about the safety of young women in the country, especially in recent times when ‘bloodsuckers’ have run riot across the land.

“Bamise was not just killed, she suffered hell,” her sister, Titilayo, said on Tuesday in an emotion-laden voice.

“She died in pain after they cut her private parts. They didn’t kill her before cutting her private parts. That is what my sister went through before her last breath on earth.

“They made my parents put their two hands on their heads and mourn their last born. They suffered my parents,” she added while fighting back tears.

Like this grieving Lagos family, several households are still waiting for justice to be served months and years after their promising daughters were brutally murdered.

Nearly two years since Uwa Omozuwa, a 22-year-old 100 level student of the University of Benin, was raped and killed inside a Redeemed Christian Church of God parish on May 27, 2020, while studying at night, the bereaved family is yet to get justice.

On the said date, when the night guard at the church resumed duties a little after 7:00pm, he found Omozuwa on the floor inside the church half-naked and in a pool of blood.

Her murder right inside a ‘holy ground’ not only showed how daring criminal elements had become in Nigeria but how unsafe citizens have become in the country.

“There has really been nothing. The first time my family went to court, there was not much deliberation and the case was adjourned.

“On March 29, 2021, was another court day but the sitting was adjourned again because only one of the suspects was present but I really don’t have an idea why the other one was not present.

“Nothing really has come out of the case, it’s just about going to court and they’re always adjourning,” the victim’s sister told SaharaReporters, capturing the frustration of the family.

In September 2021, Kazeem Bello Elepo, a middle-aged man based in the Akinyele area of Oyo State, died of emotional trauma while waiting for justice following the rape and murder of his daughter, Barakat, on June 2, 2020, in their house by a serial killer named Sunday Shodipe.

The assailant, after molesting the lady, dragged her to the back of the house where he stabbed her multiple times until she died.

Revealing that the family had yet to get justice on the matter close to two years since that tragic incident, the mother of the victim, Kafayat, said that the police have been shoddy in the handling of the case.

“We are tired (of the case) because the police are not helping in the matter. The day they said they would take him (suspect) to court, we were in the court but they did not bring him.

“They have refused to give us information on the matter, to tell us why they have not taken Sunday to court.

“For us, we have let go of the matter and left everything to God to judge. My husband died over this matter,” the bereaved woman told SaharaReporters.

Similarly, a 17-year-old girl named Favour was killed after she was brutally attacked and raped by a 28-year-old man named Godday Robinson on April 23, 2020, in the Agbara area of Ogun State.

Beating and slamming her against the edges of a drainage channel around the vicinity where the attack occurred, Robinson soon pushed his victim into a pit for her to die after raping her.

The victim sustained spinal cord injury during the assault on her and later died, doctors said.

Mary Bassey, an aunt of the victim, disclosed that justice was yet to be served on the matter more than a year since that incident.

“After closing from work that day, we didn’t see her till the next day when someone informed me that they saw a girl inside a gutter who had been raped.

“When the police came, she was able to tell them what happened and who raped her before she was taken to the hospital.

“We want the suspect to be prosecuted for putting Favour’s life in danger. He has cost us a lot of things and we want him to pay for this.”

Founder of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, a lawyer and civil rights activist, while condemning the rising cases of assault on young Nigerian women, told SaharaReporters that the criminal justice system in the country must rise up to its responsibilities for crimes of these nature to recede.

According to her, institutions including the traditional system must be empowered for the menace to be successfully tackled in the country.

“There have been laws passed in this country and institutions established to tackle sexual assault but I think what is missing is that we need to create more awareness on these issues. People must speak up when these things happen.

“There is a problem with the justice system and traditional system of responding to sexual and gender-based violence in this country. With the things going on nowadays, it becomes very important for us to go back to the community to address the problems from there.

“We need to demand action from the government. The national orientation agency must see this as a priority issue. The religious dimension has also been a major challenge in addressing sexual and gender-based violence issues. Some traditional beliefs are also part of the problem because a lot of unacceptable norms are seen as normal.

“The major problem is the current constitution Nigeria is operating; it does not even protect women. It discriminates against women. These are some of the reasons why this problem persists.”

News AddThis :  Original Author :  saharareporters, new york Disable advertisements : 

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