In case you missed it, a 20-year-old man, Uduak Akpan lures University of Uyo graduate Ini Umoren with a job offer, rapes and kills her before burying her remains in a shallow grave. Uduak later turned himself in to the police and confessed to the rape and murder of Ini Umoren.
Following her death, protests broke out across various locations. Some were held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom and others held specifically at the University of Uyo where Umoren was an alumnus.
Recall that similar protests occurred across various states last year when Uwa Omozuwa was raped and murdered in a church whose murder announcement was closely followed by a week of daily news reports of the rape and murder of women across Nigeria. These protests also led to a declaration of a state of emergency on gender-based violence. The nationwide state of emergency was reported to have been signed by all governors in the 36 states.
Today, Ini will be laid to rest in her hometown. We hope that the Nigerian government would be more proactive with the state of emergency so that we do not have repeat cases of young women being killed, raped or exposed to a violent situation with no hopes of justice in sight except on the volunteerism of social media.
As a collective, the government and all required parastatals should as a matter of urgency, steer the conversation of not getting harmed away from women. They should instead work at creating a Nigeria where the approach to all forms of gender-based violence would no longer be corrective but instead would be a preventive that ensures that structures are put in place to prevent anyone from becoming a potential abuser.
Some of these structures include but are not limited to, aggressively regulating the content of movies, music and radio to remove any dehumanizing pro-rape content as against regulating on perceived morality grounds. There should also be interrogation in the law of all cultural practices that not only strip women of a sense of humanity but reaffirm to young men that women are subhuman. Some of these include the denial of abortion rights, female genital mutilation and the dis-inheritance of women. Asides from implementing the Child Rights Act, there must be policies introduced to ensure young women are also not the victims of grooming too.
Till then, we wish Ini lights to guide her home.