By Samuel Adegoke
Students in tertiary institutions in Oyo State on Wednesday protested against the escape of Sunday Shodipe, the principal suspect in the serial killings in Akinyele area of Ibadan.
The students, who were drawn from some of the tertiary institutions in Oyo State under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), stormed the Police headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan to register their grievances over Shodipe’s escape.
The suspect, who was accused of killing at least three persons, escaped from Mokola Police Station, Ibadan last week, but the Oyo State Police Command said it was making frantic efforts to rearrest him.
Addressing the protesting students, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Nwachukwu Enwonwu, said the command was doing everything possible to get Shodipe rearrested as soon as possible. He assured them that the suspect would be back in police custody soonest.
One of the student leaders, Tope Adewolu, told journalists that students were disturbed by the news of Shodipe’s escape. He said students believed that a man that was arrested for murder of at least three students, should not have escaped so cheaply from police custody. He said students in Oyo State wanted him rearrested and prosecuted accordingly.
Adewolu, who is the General Secretary, Students Union Government of the Federal College of Animal Health and Production, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, said : “We are here to show our grievances over incessant rape and brutal killing in Akinyele. We were happy when police arrested the criminal. He was paraded at the police headquarters here and later taken to court. We learnt that because of COVID-19, he was kept in police custody instead of prison. But we were shocked to hear a few days ago that the criminal had escaped. After his escape, we heard of another murder in the same Akinyele. How can they claim that a 19-year old criminal escaped from their custody?
When asked about the police commissioner’s response, he said Enwonwu promised that Shodipe would be rearrested within 14 days, adding that the students would be back after two weeks if the criminal is not rearrested.
But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi denied that his boss promised to rearrest Shodipe within two weeks. He said the commissioner only promised to do everything within the capacity of the command to have Shodipe rearrested as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Fadeyi disclosed that a man has been arrested in Moniya area of Ibadan. He said the suspect has been taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Unit to verify if he is Shodipe. He said his arrest was made based on his semblance with Shodipe.
On the two policemen arrested and being tried according to police disciplinary procedure, Fadeyi said Enwonwu would soon announce the action he has taken on their case having been fully briefed.
The Chairman, Oyo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Mr Demola Babalola, had led members of the union on a protest to the Commissioner of Police, Enwonwu, on Monday over the escape. He said journalists in the state were surprised that such a criminal suspect could escape from police custody.
Enwonwu told the journalists that two policemen had been arrested and were being tried for negligence.