PROTESTS IN IBADAN AS RITUAL KILLER WHO CONFESSED TO KILLING 6 PEOPLE ESCAPE FROM POLICE CUSTODY

Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Indications have emerged that a 19-year-old boy, Sunday Sodipe, who confessed on Friday July 17, 2020, that he had killed no fewer than six persons for ritual purposes in different communities in Akinyele Local Government Area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has escaped from police custody.

The news of his escape came as residents of Ori-Oke Olurunkole in the local government area woke up on Friday morning, to hear news that a middle-aged woman, simply identified as Olufunmilayo, was hacked to death by suspected ritual killers on Thursday afternoon.

The development made the youths in the local government to take to the streets on Friday, protesting the return of ritual killings to the local government and the alleged escape of Sunday Sodipe, who was paraded before journalists by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, barely one month ago, from the police custody. The angry youths were said to have pelted some policemen that attempted to go to Akinyele town with stones, and made it difficult for the police to access the crime scene.

The woman was said to have been injured with a machete in four places and she was said to have died at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan later in the night. But the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, when contacted on the development, confirmed the death of the woman on Thursday, saying the police have begun investigation on it. But he could not confirm the allegation that Sunday Sodipe escaped from police custody, saying: “I will get back to you on that,” but did not get back till the time of filling this report.

The protesters argued that nobody was safe any longer in the local government, and alleged that the police might have collected bribe from the powers that be to free Sunday Sodipe without taking him to court, adding that the principal suspect allegedly escaped when police wanted to give him food. They alleged further that the development had shown that some very powerful people must have been supporting the ritual killings in the local government area.

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 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 yesterday and today. 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. 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. Since that yesterday (Thursday), I called all the youths. Then, all the Soludero Hunters and we sent them out to be on the lookout for that boy. Since yesterday evening, up till this morning, we could not locate the whereabouts of that boy.”

The Caretaker Chairman of Akinyele Local Government, Taoreed Adedigba, also said: “We heard that the woman was attacked with machete. She was rescued immediately and taken to UCH. So, we heard the report that she died this morning. That was what prompted residents to embark on a mass protest.

“Unfortunately, the peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums. The hoodlums went to the extent of pelting security operatives with stones and other objects. But with the help of God, peace is gradually returning to the area and it is under control.

“I have called Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) and he has deployed more officers to the area. Also, I called the Area Commander and Federal SARS and other security operatives and local security agents such as Soludero Hunters and others have arrived the area to calm the situation. The Alakinyele of Akinyele, Oba James Odeniran was also on ground to rescue few police officers that the hoodlums manhandled.

“The killing was carried out by suspected ritualists. Residents suspected a ritualist, who was reportedly arrested by the police, but allegedly escaped from their custody; he was seen in Akinyele two days ago and yesterday, the residents had to raise the alarm and people are suspecting he was the one that carried out the dastardly act.

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