Zookeeper killed while trying to rescue woman from lion – NASU chairman

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Lion
  • OAU shuts down zoological garden

Authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State have shut down the zoological garden on the institution’s campus following the killing of a veterinary technologist, Olabode Olawuyi, by a nine-year-old lion on Monday.

The Chairman of the National Association of Non-Academic Staff of Universities, OAU branch, Wole Odewumi, said the management of the university had shut the garden.

He explained that the veterinary technologist was attacked by the lion while he was attempting to free a woman, who was first attacked by the lion.

Odewumi said, “I spoke to some of his colleagues, and they told me what happened. The lion attacked a woman first. The woman is also a staff working at the zoo.

“The deceased intervened to free the woman from the lion. He must have assumed that the lion would recognise him. His intervention to free the woman must have infuriated the animal. The lion left the woman and attacked him squarely.

“After he was freed from the lion’s grip, they rushed him to the health centre on campus here. He however died before he got there. But the second person that was attacked, a woman, is still on admission receiving treatment presently.”

Odewumi also said a mourning procession was held on the campus on Tuesday in honour of Olawuyi while the management of the university met with his family.

He said, “We held a mourning procession in honour of the deceased this morning and members of the management addressed us after that sober event.

“All unions on campus joined the procession. The management promised to take necessary action. There will be a committee that his union will also have a representative in, that will work on the issues raised. I have visited the scene. The zoo has been locked up. It is officially locked up.

“The management will not want anybody to go there for now. Some members of the family of the deceased were around and we handed them over to the management.”

Going by the information on the Curriculum Vitae of the deceased, the 59-year-old Olawuyi born on December 22, 1965 would have exited service in 2025.

The management of the institution had in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Abiodun Olanrewaju, on Monday, explained that members of staff who were at the scene of the incident did everything within their power to rescue the deceased, but could not, as the animal held him and mauled him.

According to a video recorded at the scene, the lion was later shot dead by a security operative working with the school, as the mangled remains of the late Olawuyi soaked in blood were laid at the entrance to the garden.