Please... help find my son

Nige­rian mum flies to Bri­tain to plead for help find­ing her son

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Sam Dim­mer Crime re­porter sam.dim­mer@coven­try­tele­

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

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