Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, on Sunday confirmed the escape from lawful custody of the 19-year-old Sunday Sodipe, who was paraded a months ago and confessed then that he killed at list six persons in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state for ritual purposes.
The confirmation came barely two days after The Sun Newspapers, through Saturday Sun broke the news that the prime suspect had escaped from police custody, when the policemen watching over him wanted to give him food. The story was captioned: ‘Protests in Ibadan as serial ritual killer escapes from police custody’
The police boss, however, implored the general public to be on the lookout, arrest and immediately inform the officers and men of the command when sighted for immediate handing over for further action, appealing “to any member of the public with credible information as to the whereabouts of the assailant not to hesitate in passing same to the Oyo State Police Command to assist in the apprehension of the offender who is now at large.
“The command is committed to the protection of lives and property of the good people of Oyo State. Adequate security measures have been emplaced to enable all and sundry transact their lawful businesses in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, move from one place to another without any fear or molestation from any individual or groups. Criminal elements should steer clear of Oyo State.”
Enwonwu also advised angry “youths or mobs from taking laws into their hands by carrying out jungle justice when suspected criminals are arrested, but such suspect(s) should be handed over to the police.”
Irate youth had on Friday last week pelted policemen with stones during a protest they staged at Akinyele town following the killing of a middle-aged woman by suspected ritualists on Thursday at Onikeke area of the town, as well as the news that Sunday Sodipe had escaped from police custody. The youth questioned how the boy could have escaped from police custody if he was not deliberately released.
As gathered, about 12 persons had been killed for ritual purposes in different communities in Akinyele Local Government Area since June, this year.
The Alakinyele of Akinyele, Oba James Odeniran, who condemned return of ritual killings in the town, said the father of Barakat Bello, a female student of the Department of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT), Federal College of Animal Health and Production, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, that Sunday Sodipe confessed he killed on June 1, this year, informed him that he saw Sunday Sodipe in Akinyele town.
“I was surprised. It was after the incident here that the man called Baba Barakat came to my palace to tell me that the boy that killed Barakat, he saw him at Elewure in this Akinyele. I said no, I can’t believe it. He said he saw him and I said no. I sent the palace boys to go and investigate where they said they saw him, they came back to tell me that it was true it is that boy they saw. The problem with our people is that by the time they saw that boy, they did not inform anybody. I was not informed.
“Later, I phoned somebody that I learnt this boy has been released and he said no, the boy escaped from police custody. The boy escaped from police custody and nobody was aware? I said he has done another thing in Akinyele, he has killed somebody again. They said we should find means of apprehending him. I called all the youths. Then, all the Soludero Hunters and we sent them out to be on the lookout for that boy,” Oba Odeniran stated.