Deceased’s family, Falana question Lagos govt’s decision

Both the family of the late 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni Junior, and the renowned human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, have kicked against the absolution of the five students and five staffers of the school of alleged culpability in the death of the deceased by the Lagos State Government.

Sylvester Onoromi
Sylvester Onoromi

Mr Falana, who is also the counsel to the deceased’s family, described the government’s verdict as “escapist and hasty,” insisting that the decision cannot put an end to the matter.

Earlier on Wednesday, the government, through an advice by the director of public prosecution (DPP), Adetutu Oshinusi, ordered the release of the suspects from police custody, saying there is no evidence to substantiate the allegations of murder against the students and negligence against the staffers and the school itself.

Deceased’s father’s stance

In a public statement personally signed by the deceased’s father, Sylvester Oromoni Senior, and dated January 5, 2021, the family accused the state government of conspiracy and gang up against the family over their son’s death.

According to Mr Oromoni, the family was shocked to see the DOP’s advice on the pages of newspapers, saying despite repeated requests for the document, the government refused to make it available to them.

The family, however, said it was not surprised by the contents of the DPP advice, saying the state’s Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had earlier preempted it December 31, when he allegedly said that “at the instance of the Governor, Attorney-General and Director of Public Prosecution of Lagos State, the investigation had been concluded and that those arrested in connection with the murder had no case to answer and thereby exonerated.”

Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu

The statement reads in part; “You could recall that on the 21st day of December 2021, a Magistrate Court in Yaba, Lagos presided over by Mrs Olatunbosun Adeola granted the five suspects bail even though the DPP Advice was yet to be issued.

“Our findings from both the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCID, Panti denied being aware of the release of the five suspects. The Commissioner of Police further maintained that they were yet to conclude their investigation, hence the issue of bail would not have arisen. It may interest you to know that the suspects were ordered to be remanded by the police for 21 days by the same Magistrate Court to have a proper investigation.”

Mr Oromoni described the government-alleged conspiracy as a shame, accusing it of allowing such a gang up against his son, who he insisted died as a result of negligence from the management of the school.

He added that there is a clear oral statement from his son before he died and his schoolmates that he was tortured and given an unknown substance, suspected to be poison, to drink, which allegedly led to his death.

The bereaved family insisted that all evidence gathered so far has shown that his son did not die from injuries sustained while playing football as claimed by the school.

The deceased’s father, Sylvester Oromoni Senior
The deceased’s father, Sylvester Oromoni Senior

He said; “Based on the outcome of the autopsy report which contradicts the story of Dowen college, it is my firm belief that there is a conspiracy among the officials of Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Command, to cover up the circumstances surrounding the gruesome death of my son, Late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr.

“It is disheartening that in the DPP advice, the State of Lagos claims that the five suspects have no case to answer. The germane question to ask, in whose custody was my Late Son Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. at all material times when the substance was forcefully administered to him?”

Falana speaks

Also speaking, Mr Falana insisted that the DPP’s advice “has not laid the allegations surrounding the gruesome murder of Sylvester Oromoni, to rest.”

Femi Falana
Femi Falana (SAN)

Mr Falana, in a terse statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES, reads in part; “Our attention has been drawn to the report issued by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of Lagos State dated January 4, 2022, which has purportedly cleared five students and five employees of Dowen College of any complicity in the death of the 12-year old Sylvester Oromini Jr.

“The report is escapist and hasty as the authorities are aware of the fact that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State has ordered that an inquest be conducted into the circumstances surrounding the unnatural death of Sylvester Oromoni. The inquest which commenced before the Coroner on December 16, 2021, has been adjourned to January 15, 2022, for further hearing.”


The Lagos State government had earlier in the day advised the police to release those held in their custody over the death of Sylvester Jnr.

The suspects included five students- Kenneth Inyang (15 years), Ansel Temile (14 years), Edward Begue (16 years), Michael Kashamu (15 years) and Benjamin Ikechukwu (16 years) and five staff of the school accused of the negligent act causing harm to the deceased. They include Celena Uduak, Valentine Igbokweze, Hammed Bariyu, Adesanya Olusesan and another who was simply identified as Mr Adeyemi, and the school itself.

According to the DPP’s advice, two autopsy examinations were carried out on the deceased, with the first one said to have been conducted on December 2 at the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, by the deceased’s parents while the second was carried out on the December 14 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.

Saying that the outcomes of both autopsies were in agreement, the DPP report said that the cause of death is Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.

It also stated that the result of the Toxicology is also not indicative of any toxic or poisonous substance in the body of the deceased.

On cultism, the report also claimed that there are insufficient facts to establish the offence of membership of unlawful society against them.”

Reopening of the school

The Lagos State government ordered the indefinite closure of Dowen College on December 3, 2021, after the parents and extended family members of Sylvester Jnr insisted their son was murdered.


Students, who were at the time writing their first semester examinations, were asked to vacate the school abruptly without completing their examinations.

When PREMIUM TIMES called to find out when the school will be reopened, an unnamed official said it was too early to determine.

Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401…

PT Mag Campaign AD

Source link