Today, January 31 marks a year to the day since Nigerian student, Ozievo Akerele disappeared without a trace leaving his widowed mother heartbroken. The 24-year-old Masters student of Coventry University was last seen after leaving a nightclub in the early hours of the morning of Jan. 31, 2015.
Since then officers have released 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.
Officers have worked closely with Coventry University who continue to distribute posters asking for information and have previously offered a reward of up to £20,000 for information which would help find the Nigerian student who came to Coventry to take a Masters Degree in Management of Information Technology after completing studies in Nigeria.
Ozi went out with friends to the Iglu club on Spon Street, but left alone around 3.30am. CCTV shows him hours later on the Foleshill Road between Park Street and the A444 shortly after making a call to a friend asking to be picked up near to the university. Sadly when the friend arrived Ozi couldn’t be found.
The latest search involved two ‘drowned victim’ search dogs from the National Search and Rescue Dog Association who travelled from Greater Manchester.
Handler Dave March and his Collie Sasha along with British Transport Police officer Mike Dermody and his MalinoisQuincy tracked a five mile stretch of the canal earlier this month. 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.
Previously Sonar equipment from the Home Office has been used in the search for Ozi, all to no avail. Inspector Alastair Orencas who is leading the search for Ozi. He 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."
Ozi left three brothers and his widowed mother in Abuja, Nigeria to travel to the UK.
After his disappearance Irene Akerele came to England to assist with the search. She described her son as being "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 spoke of his decision to continue his studies here:
"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."
Source: West Midlands Police