Crime

Akinyele Serial Killer’s Escape: Stakeholders Accuse Police of Conspiracy

Sodipe committed the last murder- Monarch 

Many VIPs involved have not been arrested- Resident

I want justice for my daughter – Father of victim

Its death too many in Akinyele- S.A Security 

We will soon re-arrest Sunday- Police

Some stakeholders have accused police of conspiracy over the escape from its custody of 19-year-old Sunday Sodipe, the alleged serial killer in Akinyele Local Government of Ibadan.

The stakeholders, who condemned the manners in which the police handled the case and described it as a conspiracy theory called for re-arrest of the prime suspect to prevent crisis in the area.

It would be recalled that for three months, from May to July this year, Akinyele Local Government became the epicentre as some of its communities were under siege following the gruesome murder of not less than eight people. 

On the 17th July, the prime suspect, Sunday Sodipe, who confessed to be the one that committed most of the murder cases, was paraded by the police with his master, a herbalist, Adedokun Yunusa and another suspect. 

suspects parade (tribuneonline.com)

The tension doused down since the suspects were in custody until Thursday, 13th August when the relative peace was cut short by the murder of Mrs Oladejo Funmilayo at Onikeke Village while accusing fingers were pointed to the same Sunday Sodipe who was believed to be in police custody.

It was that incident that sparked protest by some youths in the area the following day alleging the police of complicity in the matter while some angry ones were reported to have pelted he officers who came to maintain law and order with stones.

To the dismay of Nigerians, precisely on Sunday, 16th August, two days after the protest, the police issued a statement that the principal suspect escaped from custody on Tuesday, 11th Aigust that preceded Thursday’s new murder case.

Speaking on the development, the Alakinyele of Akinyele, Oba James Odeniran said he could smell a rat in the case, stressing that if the police had alerted the public of the escape of the suspect early, he would have been caught because people claimed they saw him.

Oba James Odeniran (pmparrot)

“It’s more or less a surprise case to us because we couldn’t believe it. All those who had hands in the escape of this boy must not go unpunished. I want to strongly appeal to the police that when incident like that happens what they should have done was to release the photograph of the boy to the public. Had it been that was done, the boy would have been captured.”

The monarch said the same Sunday Sodipe was the one that committed the latest murder as people had earlier sighted him in the area, which was not far from the crime scene.

“We are very sure that it was Sunday that came from police net that killed the woman. When we compare the time he left Elewure Area, that is not more than a kilometre to the house of the woman that was killed and the route he passed, that gave us the hint that he was the one that killed the woman.”

Father of Barakat, the first victim that was murdered on May 31st, Mr. Kazeem Bello, narrated how a relative told him that Sodipe the killer of her daughter had been released.

 “A relative called me that Shodipe was sighted at Akinyele Elewure Market but I said that is not possible. But when they insisted that they saw him, I have to go there by myself”.

“When I got there he has left but those who saw him showed me his picture on their phones. I went to meet the king, Alakinyele of Akinyele and explained the story but the king could not believe until he put a phone call to a senior police officer at Iyaganku who confirmed to him that the suspect had escaped from their custody three days back.” 

Mr Bello who called for justice in the gruesome killing of her daughter said he could not believe that the law enforcement agents who promised to ensure all those involved face the music were the one betraying the cause.

Similarly, a resident of Akinyele who spoke under the condition of anonymity said he saw Sunday Sodipe on Wednesday and if he had been declared wanted, he would have been nabbed.

“I saw him. He wore polo and jeans. We were surprised and infact somebody challenged him that Sunday, you have left the police custody and he said yes, the case has been settled. When he left us, we started talking about this country and injustice.if we knew he escaped, we would have descended on him but, when we didn’t know, we couldn’t have done that so that we would not be used to replace him.”

Another resident who did not want his name in print said foul play had been suspected at the beginning claiming some prominent personalities that had connections with the case were still free men.

“Truly if you look at the manner and the sequence of the murder and the way these people are being coordinated and the inability of the security agencies to curb this ceaseless murder, you will agree with me that there are sponsors of the murder.”

“When Aisha Fagbemi was murdered in June at Sasa, one guy was caught and he confessed there were several groups but in his own group, they were 13 in number wreaking the havoc. He mentioned some VIPs and this Information is in public domain only that people are fearing to disclose such because of possible attacks from these assailants.”

“The police cannot claim they are not part of the conspiracy. There was a time they gathered some traditional rulers in Akinyele, they wanted to show the faces of the VIPs to the monarchs. Only few minutes later, the police came and cancelled the plan to disclose the identities of the suspects. It shows that these people are well connected with the crime going on in Akinyele. Truly, there are some fingered VIPs. Virtually everybody in Akinyele knows these people, it’s only that they could not divulge the information because of possible attack.”

In an interview, Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security and retired Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni said to redeem the image of the force, the officers should put all mercenaries in place to ensure the re-arrest of the criminal.

Fatai Owoseni (itrealms.com.ng)

He said the circumstances behind the escape of the suspect were unacceptable and the police have to do a lot to fish out the criminal to face the wrath of law.

“What has happened is highly condemnable and unacceptable to the state as well.The commissioner of police and all his officers have to work with our people in the community to ensure that that suspect is re-arrested and to also ensure that all those cases are investigated to a logical conclusion. Its death too many in Akinyele. The last murder was preventable if that suspect has not escaped.”

One of the questions agitating the minds of many Nigerians is how did the suspect escape from the police custody?

Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Oyo State said an Inspector claimed he opened the cell for the suspect to eat and have his bath and during the process, he escaped.

Mr Fadeyi said the Inspector, whom it was learnt was not on duty and another officer  on duty  had been tried while the report was already with the commissioner of police for appropriate disciplinary actions.

“The police inspector took him out to allow him take his bath and eat. In the process of doing that, he escaped from him . Investigation has commenced and the inspector and another police officer involved had been taken to what we call room trial handled by the Provost-Marshall in-charge. They have been tried and the report is out and with the Commissioner of Police for next disciplinary action on the matter.”

On why it took the police five days before the public could be alerted on the escape of the suspect, the PPRO said the Information got to the Commissioner of police late while immediately he got wind of the story, he ordered the room trial of the officers as well as issuing of press release to inform the people to aid the re-arrest of the suspect.

“The Commissioner of Police said he was not immediately briefed about the escape of the suspect from lawful custody.  And immediately he got wind of it, he gave marching order that the suspect should be re-arrested and ordered Police PRO to come up with a press release to inform the public to assist if being sighted anywhere for immediate arrest for the next action to be taken on it.”

Defending the detention of the prime suspect at Mokola Police Station, Mr Fadeyj said Sunday Sodipe had earlier been arraigned in court and was to be in police custody but due to ravaging COVID-19, all the suspects including him were spread over to police facilities in the state.

“The prime suspect and 2 others were charged in court and were returned to be remanded in police custody because of the COVID-19 pandemic till the adjournment day. In the process, he was taken to Mokola Police Station because of congestion in other police facilities.”

Mr Fadeyi denied the allegation that some individuals who had link with the case had not been arrested and urged people to come with facts to aid the investigation. 

“All those claims are not true. But, I want to implore the general public that if they have evidence or credible information, they should come forward with such and we will surely investigate so as to know the next line of action to take.”

The PPRO said with the matching order by the Inspector General of Police and the injection of detectives from the headquarters, long hands of the law would soon catch up with the fleeing Sunday Sodipe. 

“We have set mercenaries in motion, our men are all out there and we have sought the support of members of the public, his picture is in the public domain, we have spoken to critical stakeholders, we have collaboration with them. We know that soonest he will be arrested because there are so many strategies in place for us to re-arrest him so that all these claims and counter claims as well  as allegations are laid to rest.”

Apart from condemnation on both traditional and social media that has trailed the report of the escape, the situation has brought about different protests which included the one staged by National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS Oyo State Chapter to Police Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan which led to the blockage of Dugbe-Eleyele Road causing a gridlock that lasted for hours.

A new dimension to the case is a wrong identity in the hunting to fish out Sunday Sodipe. A middle-age man was misplaced for the wanted criminal and was bundled to the palace of Alakinyele of Akinyele, Oba James Odediran. 

“I was told Sunday had been caught. When they brought him, I compared his face with Sunday’s picture, they were not alike. His own name was Jelili “

The monarch said if not for wisdom used to take the man through the backdoor to whisk him to Moniya Police Station, he might have not survived from the already tensed and crowded palace.

Another twist to the story is the statement credited to Peoples’ Awareness Initiative, PAI  that has gone viral on the social media ordering  a stay at home for residents of Akinyele local government on the 1st of September if the police fail to re-arrest Sunday Sodipe on or before the end of this month.

“So, PAI on behalf of the good people of Akinyele LGA hereby charged the Nigerian Police, in whose custody Mr. Sunday Sodipe was kept to reproduce and re-parade him on or before 31st of August, 2020. PAI also demands explanations from the Nigerian Police to the public the circumstances that orchestrated his supposed escape from custody, and why other fingered VIPs who are allegedly backing the murder syndicate have not been arrested and paraded  up till now”.

 The group that has been mobilising and sensitizing artisans and other relevant associations in the Council said the sit-at-home was a civil way of protesting the loose security situation in Akinyele Local Government. 

“In the light of the failure of the Police to meet the above demand, PAI thus calls for ‘a stay at home order on Tuesday, 1st of September, 2020’ as a civil way of registering our protest over the leaky security situation in Akinyele LGA”. 

“So, if unfortunately this exercise would occur in the event of failure of the security agency concerned to bring Mr. Sunday Sodipe and his other cohorts to justice, the good people of Akinyele would observe ‘a stay at home order’ on Tuesday when:

There will be no market activities within Akinyele LGA. No transportation except for emergency situations within Akinyele LGA. No social activities within Akinyele LGA”.

“The primary responsibility of government is to provide security for all and sundry, irrespective of any consideration. Where this fails, despondency may set in, leading to a loss of confidence in government. It is imperative that people should not be allowed to take recourse to self-help in an attempt to secure their lives and properties”.

Ridwan Fasasi

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