Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joel Enwonwu, has disclosed that the circumstances surrounding the escape and re-arrest of the alleged serial killer, Sunday Shodipe, taught him a very bitter lesson.
This was as he admitted that the escape of the alleged mastermind of the series of killings in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state from police custody, before his eventual re-arrest, gave him the greatest nightmare in his career.
He made the disclosure while featuring on a live program, Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio, anchored by Olayinka Agboola in Ibadan, on Tuesday.
It would be recalled that the 19-year-old suspect reportedly escaped after a police officer, who was said to be off duty, opened the cell for him in order to take a bath.
The Oyo police boss however said the society was not fair to him and the officers and men under his command, by condemning them and calling for their removal over the escape of Shodipe from police custody.
‘I have learnt a bitter lesson with this case. The society is ruthless and unfair to us policemen. I felt sad with the reaction of our people. One policeman caused the embarrassment. You definitely cannot use one person to judge the whole system.
“People know the truth. Was I the one holding the key? They should know that in any 12, there is always a Judas. You can’t use only one person to judge others. I can never behave like that to others.
“For example, I cannot say that all journalists are bad. It will be unfair. I know there are so many fine and professional journalists. If one does something bad, all I need to do is just single him out. The Shodipe saga taught me a very big lesson,” he said.
He admitted that the incident caused him great embarrassment as it not only made the Inspector-General (IG) of police to call him, but also raised an uproar internationally, with people contacting him from the United States Of America (USA), Italy and other countries.
“It was the greatest nightmare of my life. I had sleepless nights because people were saying all sorts of things and they kept calling me, that I should be removed from my post, even though they knew that I was not the one responsible for his escape. The society was not fair to us.
“Some said he disappeared. There is nothing like disappearing. The police officer who opened the cell for him was unprofessional in his conduct, saying the suspect wanted to take a bath.
“He [the officer] was not even on duty. He collected the key from another officer who was on duty and opened the cell. They are both in police custody now and they’re going to pay for it. Their matters has left command level.
“Different people were calling me. You see, the news of Sunday Sodipe’s escape was both an embarrassment and a nightmare to me. My greatest happiness is that he escaped under my watch and he was re-arrested under my watch too,” he said.
Enwonwu however commended the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration in the state for doing so much to support the state police command under him.
“Before I came into office in Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde had bought vehicles and upgraded so many of our facilities.
“Like Oliver Twist, I will still want to implore him that there are still many things we will want him to do for us. Security maintenance is a serious assignment. We need all the support we can get,” he said.
On famers, herdsmen relationship in Oke Ogun Area of the state, the CP said: “We are doing our best to ensure that they continue to live in peace.
“We have been meeting the monarchs and others in that zone. We are not interested in persecuting or prosecuting anybody. We just want them to live in harmony.
“Immediately I resumed duties, I told my men what I wanted and what I expected of them. The first is that they must respect human rights.
“They should not harass, engage in brutality or intimidate anybody. They should offer quality service to the people. This is the template I operate with. And I will continue along this line.
“In addition, I added a caveat-that my Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) must cooperate with me along these lines. They must be friendly at all times.
“This is because if a policeman is friendly with the people, he will enjoy their support and this will help him to gather quality intelligence to do his work.
“I have tried this and it has worked for me. If any of my DPOs goes against these principles, I will do the needful.”
He also assured the people of the state that “Our Command will give you a conducive environment to do your business, we appeal for your cooperation. Our men are there at your service, not only in Ibadan but all over the state.”