Please... help find my son
Nigerian mum flies to Britain to plead for help finding her son
A STUDENT who went missing after a night out in Coventry may have got lost as he tried to find his way home.
Ozi Akerele was last seen flagging down motorists in Foleshill – two miles from his home in Stoke – in the early hours of Saturday, January 31.
The 24-year-old Nigerian had been on a night out in the city centre with friends but, despite extensive police inquiries, he hasn’t been seen since.
Ozi had only arrived in Coventry to study for a masters degree a few weeks earlier and was unfamiliar with the city.
Insp Alastair Orencas, who is leading the investigation, said officers hadn’t found anything to suspect something sinister had happened.
He suspects Ozi simply got lost after drinking too much on one of the coldest nights of the year.
Ozi’s mother Irene Akerele flew in from Nigeria yesterday to beg for information from anyone who saw her son on the morning he was last seen.
She said: “I’m very worried – I’m scared. I can’t face my other children, I cannot tell them about their brother.
“I can’t tell my youngest. He would feel so bad. He looks up to Ozi as a father.
“When I lost my husband three years ago, he looked up to Ozi.
“He said, ‘I’m not going to have a dad now’ and Ozi said, ‘don’t worry, I will be your father.’
“I’m begging the public, if you have any information concerning my son please tell the police.
“He is a good boy, he is well loved. As a family we want to be reunited with him.”
“If anyone has any information please come forward,” she said. “We all just want to get closure.”
His 23-year-old girlfriend Emmanuella said Ozi, who lived in Richmond Street, Stoke, had been out in Coventry once before and on that occasion he also got lost on his way home.
Insp Orencas said Ozi had called Emmanuella asking to be picked up on the morning on January 31, but when she arrived in a taxi he wasn’t where he said he would be.
A short time later, at 6.50am, his phone went dead, possibly because he had dropped it.
At 7.03am he is caught on CCTV speaking to a taxi driver at the junction of Park Street and Foleshill Road and at 7.50am in Old Church Road he flags down a motorist and asks for help.
Police want to speak to the taxi driver, the other motorist, or anyone else who saw or spoke to Ozi in Foleshill Road in Saturday morning.
Insp Orencas added: “It’s the time of year where people don’t look in their sheds or gardens, but if you live in that area I would request that we take a look.
“It’s important that we make ourselves content that Ozi hasn’t tried to seek refuge in a garden.
“Is there anything out of the ordinary in or around your shed or garden, any personal property that has been dropped?
“Just take 15 to 20 seconds of your time and have a look.
“At this stage we are keeping an open mind. Ozi isn’t used to the temperatures in this country.
“He has tried to make his way home and he hasn’t made it. At this time this is a missing from home inquiry and not a criminal inquiry.”
Ozi’s pictures, and further details, are expected to be shown at both the Coventry City and Wasps games this weekend in a bid to jog people’s memories and raise awareness of his disappearance.
■ Ozi Akerele is seen on CCTV in Foleshill Road after leaving friends following a night out in Coventry
■ Irene Akerele appeals for help to find her missing son Ozi