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How OAU zookeeper Olabode Olawuyi was attacked and killed by lion a year before retirement

The death of veterinary technologist Olabode Olawuyi at the zoological garden of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State has thrown the university into mourning.

Mr Olawuyi was attacked by a nine-year-old lion he had been feeding for the same length of time.

The university has since shut the garden, according to the chairman of the National Association of Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) OAU branch, Wole Odewumi.

Mr Odewumi told PUNCH on Tuesday that the lion attacked the zookeeper while the latter was trying to save a woman held by the lion.

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

Odewumi said the zookeeper might have assumed that the lion would recognise him.

He added that the Olawuyi died before he was taken to the health centre on campus while the woman is still receiving treatment.

Olawuyi, born on December 22, 1965, would have retired in 2025.

A video recorded at the scene showed the lion was later shot dead by a security operative at the university.

Odewumi 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.

“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,” he said.

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