Police gave the name of the deceased as Musbau Saheed. He was said to be arrested at Baboko area of the town early in the day by a police team raiding a hideout.
The death of the suspect resulted in a protest as angry youths confronted policemen posted to secure government facilities and control traffic in various parts of Ilorin metropolis.
The protesters marched from the Surulere Police Station to the police headquarters in GRA, chasing away any uniform men in sight.
The spokesperson for the Kwara State Police Command, SP Ajayi Okasanmi, said men of the anti-cultism unit of the command had attempted to thwart a planned reprisal by a cult group in an uncompleted building in Baboko.
He said, “Some hoodlums in the Baboko area of Ilorin blocked the road this morning (Friday), preventing free flow of traffic in protest of the incident of the arrested suspected cultist, who in an attempt to escape from the police, took a dive into the river close to the scene of the arrest. The hoodlums took to the streets and blocked the road.
“The arrest came on the heels of intelligence available to the command, indicating that some suspected cultists were assembled at an uncompleted building in Baboko in readiness for an attack. A team of detectives were detailed to the scene. Two of the suspects were arrested.
“While taking them to the station, one of the suspects by name Musbau Saheed jumped into a nearby river close to the scene. An attempt by the police and fire service officers to rescue him was delayed by hoodlums who made the rescue attempt difficult. Eventually, he was rescued and taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead.”
Okasanmi said that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Bagega, visited the scene and directed a discreet investigation into the matter.
The CP also advised members of the public to go about their lawful business without any fear, adding that the police were on the ground to ensure security of all citizens.
“The Kwara State Police Command wishes to assure the good people of Kwara State of their safety at all times as adequate security arrangements have been put in place in all parts of the state,” Okasanmi added.