REACTIONS have continued to trail the killing of Opeyemi Ajewole, a Professor of Social and Environmental Forestry at the University of Ibadan (UI).
Ajewole was killed by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on his way home on Monday, June 5.
The deceased was a classmate of Vice-President Kashim Shettima. He congratulated Shettima on his inauguration on May 29.
While commiserating with the professor’s family, Shettima described his death as “a rude shock.”
“I received today the shocking news of the death of Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole who was gunned down by yet-to-be-identified assailants,” the Vice-President in a statement he signed.
“The late Opeyemi, a renowned Professor of Social and Environmental Forestry, was my classmate at the University of Ibadan and his untimely death just days after personally congratulating me on my swearing-in, came as a rude shock.
“I condemn the gruesome killing of Prof. Opeyemi, and wish to express my deep condolences to his family and the University of Ibadan Master Class of 1990. I pray for the repose of his gentle soul.”
Confirming his death, spokesperson of the Oyo State Police Command, Adewale Osifeso, told journalists on Tuesday, June 6, that an investigation has been opened into the matter.
“The matter is under investigation. Updates would be provided accordingly,” he said.
It was also revealed that the assailants went away with the lecturer’s car after he was killed.
The ICIR made unsuccessful attempts to get an update on the police investigation from Osifeso. He didn’t respond to phone calls.
But in a statement on Thursday, June 8, the UI chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, to take swift action in bringing Ajewole’s murderers to justice.
ASUU chairperson in UI, Ayo Akinwole, implored the IGP to extend his support to the Oyo State Police Command by providing the necessary resources and assistance required to uncover the truth behind Ajewole’s untimely demise and ensure the arrest of those involved.
The union also appealed to President Bola Tinubu to intervene promptly and demonstrate to the Nigerian populace that their lives are paramount under his administration.
“The ASUU-UI community is overwhelmed with profound grief, as if our hearts have been pierced by a thousand swords. We tremble uncontrollably as if our very essence has been exposed, vulnerable amidst the harsh tundra,” he said.
“We condemn in totality the gruesome murder of our comrade, Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole and charge the security operatives to track down and apprehend the perpetrators of this dastardly act, with a view to unravelling the motive behind the incident, as well as bringing the perpetrators to book.”
He lamented that “death lurks in every nook and cranny of this nation, where life has become incredibly cheap”.
Akinwole added that the Nigerian populace has continued to be plagued by terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, assassination, hunger, unemployment, and countless other threats, relentlessly crushing the collective aspirations of every citizen.
“The situation of the Nigerian academics is even doubly precarious; they are prophets without any honour at home.
“The union wishes to use this teary occasion of Prof. Ajewole’s sudden death to call on the Nigerian state to resolutely tackle the problem of insecurity in the country, apprehend the killers of Prof. Ajewole and punish them most appropriately,” he noted.
Ajewole’s killing came eight months after Adigun Agbaje, a professor of Political Science at UI, was kidnapped by gun-bearing men wearing military uniforms along on Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
A police officer was killed during the incident.
Although Agbaje later regained his freedom, one of his relatives told newsmen shortly after he was kidnapped that the gunmen had, during a phone contact with his family, demanded N50 million ransom.
Also, in March this year, a professor of political science at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Felix Akpan, was discovered lifeless within his residence.
The Cross Rivers State Police Command Spokesperson, Irene Ugbo, told newsmen that the professor died from multiple stab injuries.