New Telegraph

Dowen College: Anger, knocks trail govt’s action

  • We’re just beginning the case – Oromoni

 

MIXED-FEELINGS

Mixed-feelings have continued to trail last week’s Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) report and decision of the Lagos State Government to clear students, staff and Dowen College of complicity in the death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of the college alleged to have died as a result of torture and bullying by some students for refusal to join their cult group

˜ Idea of reopening school now unacceptable to us – Family

˜ Lagos action callous, wicked, barbaric – PANDEF

˜ College can’t reopen without justice for our child – IYC

 

The last may not have been heard over the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, a student of Dowen College, as the raging controversy trailing the death of the student and last week announcement of the Lagos State Government, setting free the staff, students and college of complicity, are yet to be abated.

 

Oromoni died on November 30, 2020, due to internal injuries he sustained from alleged torture and beaten by some studentcult members in the college for refusing to join their cult group.

 

The boy was said to have mentioned the name of five students as accomplices, who tortured and beat him, as well as forced him to drink a poisonous substance, leading to his eventual death, when all efforts to save his life failed.

 

But, Lagos State Government, last week, in its announcement cleared the students, five members of staff and the college of any complicity in the death of the 12-year-old Oromoni.

The government, said to be acting on the autopsies carried out on the late Sylvester, to determine the cause(s) of his death, however, cleared them through a Legal Advice issued and signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms. Adetutu Osinusi, which indicated that police investigation and the two autopsies conducted on the body of the deceased does not link any of suspects to the unfortunate incident.

 

The Lagos State Government has exonerated and cleared the five students, as well as five employees of the college of any complicity in the death of a 12-year-old student of the school, Sylvester Oromoni, who died on November 30, 2020 in a controversial circumstance, while efforts to save his life proved abortive.

 

They were cleared through a Legal Advice issued and signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms. Adetutu Osinusi, which indicated that police investigation and the two autopsies conducted on the body of the deceased does not link any of suspects to the unfortunate incident.

 

The Legal Advice dated January 4, 2022, was addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and Chief Magistrate Olatunbosun Adeola.

 

It disclosed that the interim and final autopsy reports issued by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Toxicology Report of Postmortem samples revealed the cause of death as Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.

 

The Advice also indicated that the first report at the Central Hospital,  Warri in Delta State, on the 2nd of December, 2021 (with only the Investigating Police Officer and representatives of the family in attendance) and an interim report dated 10th December, 2021 was issued by the Pathologist pending the result of Toxicology screen. It added that following results of Toxicology, a final report dated 30th December, 2021 was issued and revealed cause of death as Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.

 

Consequently, it was concluded by the state that there is no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm against the suspects.

 

The state also directed that all the suspects should be released if they are still in custody. Towards this end, the Lagos State Government had ordered the college, which had hitherto been shut down at the wake of the crisis, to reopen on Monday, January 10 for full activities.

 

 

However, reactions and counter reactions have continued to trail the Lagos State Government action and decision, which some stakeholders considered as a ploy by the government to frustrate and cover up investigations into the death of the boy. While listing conditions to reopen the college, the state government directed the management of Dowen College to make corrections after  the death of Sylvester Oromoni, as well as all identified lapses in administration of the college discovered during inspection and investigation must be fixed.

 

The state Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, said the Thursday’s position of the ministry followed the advice of the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), which reported that Oromoni’s death could not be linked to bullying. Speaking on the fate of students of the college as second term began, the Commissioner said the government was reviewing the operational guidelines of boarding schools and the requirements for establishment.

 

Adefisayo, who confirmed that the management of the college had been mandated to work on school governance gaps, as well as other regulatory issues, disclosed that monitoring and inspection of schools were being overhauled to improve efficiency.

 

However, the crisis surrounding the controversial death of Sylvester Oromoni Junior, who hailed from Ijaw community in Delta State, deepened at the weekend, as the people of Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State vowed to resist the decision of Lagos State Government exonerating the five students mentioned by the  late student and workers of the college of complicity in the alleged murder case.

 

When Our Correspondent visited the community on Saturday, the entire Ogbe-Ijoh community, the Headquarters of the LGA, was still wearing a mournful look as most people in the area were not ready to speak on the issue.

 

Though, effort made by New Telegraph to speak with the traditional ruler of the area, His Majesty Couple Oromoni, the elder brother of Sylvester Oromoni, failed as the gate leading to his palace was locked with stern looking security operatives manning the gate, however, one elderly man ordered our Correspondent to leave the area immediately as nobody was happy and ready to speak over the sad event.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Mr. Robison Ken, who spoke with our Correspondent, described the action of the Lagos State Government as callous, wicked and barbaric.

 

According to him, the decision of the Lagos State Government to clear the students and school is suspicious, evil and inconsequential. He, therefore, added that the said outcome of the autopsy report carried out on the body of the 12-year-old boy was doubtful and untrue.

 

Robison said: “There are similar incident where innocent persons in the country have been humiliated, jailed and tortured for offense they did not commit. The Lagos State Government decision shows there are signs of discrimination and fallacious report.

“The general situation in the country today shows disbelief, evil machination and insecurity. In fact, the college authorities should pay more attention to their students and care for them.”

 

Thus, he insisted that the report that the deceased student had health challenge was false and spurious, stressing that the parents should have known if their son had health challenge or not, adding that “we just hope that the Lagos State Government is not playing pranks because the boy was in good health before he was allegedly murdered.

 

Piqued by the decision of Lagos State Government, Sylvester’s father, Mr. Sylvester Oromoni, who spoke on phone, told our Correspondent that family has disagreed with the decision of the Lagos State Government. Oromoni, who is still raging with anger, wondered why the Lagos State Government should turn the case upside down, even as he further stressed that the decision to reopen the school is unacceptable to him and members of his family.

 

“This is a clear case of the highest order and we are not going to take it lightly. Justice must prevail because this is a clear case of murder,” Oromoni said, insisting that he must get down to the root of the matter. Expressing doubt over the outcome of investigations into the case, Oromoni recalled how the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu had a few days ago, told him of fresh facts into the case, but wondered when further investigations were conducted before the decision of the Lagos State Government.

 

He added that the family was not surprised about the way the case was turning out because what the Commissioner said was not playing out, but expressed his reservation pending when the legal action is completed.

 

Oromoni noted: “The question is when did they write to the Attorney-General to bring those students back to continue their investigation.

 

“Unfortunately, instead of the school speaking up on the death of our son, one of us from Delta, whom we sent to the college, said they were busy making efforts to reopen the school. I am insisting that the idea of reopening the school now is unacceptable to us.”

 

He, however, promised to see his counsel and respond appropriately, but added that “this is just the beginning of the case.”

 

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Lagos chapter in collaboration with other groups, last Thursday staged a protest in front of the college, demanding “justice for their son.”

 

The group, who vowed to disrupt academic activities, prevent staff and students from accessing the premises of the school, as well as the peace of the college if Lagos State Government should reopen the college on Monday, as directed, insisted that the disruption and disorderliness were in solidarity to the Oromoni’s family and to drive home their displeasure towards the Legal Advice issued by the state’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) clearing staff and students of the college of complicity in the death of Sylvester Oromoni.

 

According to the protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions, said the college could not resume like others when justice was yet to be served. The leader of the group said: “We are here today to express our anger and grievances over the fake and corrupt report released by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) that this school where cultists are being trained is cleared.

 

The school cannot reopen without justice for our child. “If this school is open on Monday (yesterday), all Ijaw Nation will come here; we will carry our bags; we will carry our feeding bottles and join them in the school. “If they do not bring justice, the school cannot reopen.

 

“But, if they refuse to give us justice, this school will not be open, we want to send a message to the Governor of this state; I believe he is a well-trained person, if he supports injustice, then this school will not have peace.”

 

The leader, who said that they have the capacity, and threatened that no amount of armoured tanks deployed to the college would deprive them from ensuring that the school does not reopen, stressed that this would be the first time they will hear that suspects are given bail before they are brought to the court.

 

“We want justice, and that justice must be seen to be done. Our child cannot die without justice and their children come to school here,” the group insisted.

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