5th Dec, 2016

Search for missing university student continues

Coventry Editorial 6th Feb, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

IT HAS been one year since Coventry student Ozi Akerele went missing.

The 24-year-old left the Iglu club on Spon Street in the early hours of January 31, 2015 and has not been seen since.

Now more than a year on, police are renewing their appeals for information and sightings of the Nigerian student who came to Coventry to study for Masters Degree in Management of Information Technology.

Leaving behind his widowed mother and three brothers in Abuja, Nigeria, Ozi had only been in the country for a few weeks when he disappeared.

Ozi left the club alone at around 3.30am, with CCTV showing him hours later on the Foleshill Road between Park Street and the A444.

He made a call to a friend asking to be picked up near the university, but when the friend arrived Ozi couldn’t be found.

Police have released the CCTV of Ozi’s last movements, issued media appeals for sightings and searched miles of the canal network and outlying area where Ozi was last seen.

The latest search involved two ‘drowned victim’ search dogs from the National Search and Rescue Dog Association who travelled from Greater Manchester.

Handler Dave Marsh and his Collie Sasha, along with British Transport Police officer Mike Dermody and his Malinois Quincy tracked a five mile stretch of the canal earlier this month.

Sasha and Quincy are trained to recognise the scent of a body emanating from water. The dogs along with their handlers and two inflatable boats supplied by West Mercia Police searched from Coventry Basin to Hawkesbury Junction near to the Greyhound pub.

Sonar equipment from the Home Office has been used in the search for Ozi, all to no avail.

Coventry University still continue to distribute posters asking for information and have previously offered a reward of up to £20,000 for information which would help find him.

Inspector Alastair Orencas, who is leading the search for Ozi, said: “In spite of extensive searches, investigation work and media appeals, we are no closer to finding Ozi.

“On the anniversary of his disappearance I am again appealing to anyone who may have any information to come forward.

“I am in regular contact with Ozi’s mother, Irene Akerele, and my dearest wish is to have news for her to end the limbo that she finds herself in.”

After his disappearance Ozi’s mum Irene came to England to assist with the search for her son.

At the time she said of her son: “He is on the quiet side, he doesn’t talk much, but he is a happy boy, he’s always excited. He likes friends around him, he’s very generous.”

She added: “Ozievo was happy to come to Coventry University, he wanted it, he sought the admission himself.

“At times now, I regret sending him out to do his Masters Degree.”

Ozi (pictured) is black, 6’ 2″ tall and of a slim build. He was last seen wearing jeans, distinctive blue and white converse trainers and a grey/black zip-up jacket.